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295 posts in Publications

A rising tide of marine disease? How parasites respond to a warming world

Warming events are increasing in magnitude and severity, threatening many ecosystems worldwide. As the global temperatures continue to climb, it also raises uncertainties as to the relationship, prevalence, and spread of parasites and disease. A recent study from the University of Washington explores the ways parasitism will respond to climate change, providing researchers new insights into disease transmission.

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Pacific oysters in the Salish Sea may not contain as many microplastics as previously thought

In a recent interdisciplinary study, University of Washington researchers at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Department of Materials Science and Engineering used advanced methodologies to accurately identify and catalog microplastics in Pacific oysters from the Salish Sea. They have discovered that the abundance of tiny microplastic contaminants in these oysters is much lower than previously thought. The findings were published in January in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

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Sockeye salmon fuel a win-win for bears and people in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

In a world where valuable natural resources can be scarce, nature often loses when humans set their sights on something they want. But a new study published in the journal Ecological Applications shows that doesn’t always have to be true. Researchers found that with proper management of salmon fisheries, both humans and bears — who depend on a healthy supply of the fatty, oily fish — can thrive.

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Inbreeding and management in captive populations

school of salmon underwater

Pacific salmon hatcheries aim to supplement declining wild populations and support commercial and recreational fisheries. However, there are also risks associated with hatcheries because the captive and wild environments are inherently different. It is important to understand these risks in order to maximize the success of hatcheries. Inbreeding, which occurs when related individuals interbreed, is one risk that may inadvertently be higher in hatcheries due to space limitations and other factors. 

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‘The blob,’ food supply squeeze to blame for largest seabird die-off

When nearly 1 million common murres died at sea and washed ashore from California to Alaska in 2015 and 2016, it was unprecedented — both for murres, and across all bird species worldwide. Scientists from the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, the U.S. Geological Survey and others blame an unexpected squeeze on the ecosystem’s food supply, brought on by a severe and long-lasting marine heat wave known as “the blob.”

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Resident orcas’ appetite likely reason for decline of big Chinook salmon

Each year orcas consume more than 2.5 million adult Chinook salmon along the West Coast. Except for the endangered southern resident population in Washington, all other fish-eating orca populations that live along the coast, called “residents,” are growing in number. The rise of resident killer whales, and their appetite for large Chinook salmon, is driving a decline of the big fish.

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