In the Pacific Northwest, eelgrass serves an important function in the ecosystem by binding sediments, storing carbon, and providing essential habitat for Pacific herring, juvenile salmon, and many other species. Concerningly, eelgrass populations are susceptible to human impacts related to water quality changes or direct disturbance. Eelgrass mitigation and restoration strategies often result in plants being transplanted to new locations where eelgrass may already be present. However, these efforts often lack information on the genetic population structure in an ever-changing environment. A team of interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Washington is developing baseline data for native eelgrass to make the first comprehensive geographic map of state eelgrass population structure and describe the relationship between eelgrass population structure, phenotypic diversity, and local adaptation and resistance to environmental stressors.Read more
Learn how SAFS PhD student Jessie Hale examines patterns in sea otter feeding over time and space along the Washington coast.Read more
For nearly two decades, volunteers on Whidbey Island have been monitoring a curious little seabird—the pigeon guillemot, small in size, black with white patches on the wings and a fire-engine-red mouth and feet. Using binoculars, they observe and record the comings and goings of the island’s resident seabirds along the seaside cliffs.
Pigeon guillemots have been identified as a Puget Sound indicator species due to their abundance throughout the region, but what they might indicate is not yet clear.
An international group of scientists has laid out an ambitious global conservation plan for parasites. A related paper led by the University of Washington found that responses of parasites to environmental change are likely to be complex, and that a changing world probably will see both outbreaks of some parasites and a total loss of other parasite species.Read more
Deep-sea anglerfishes employ an incredible reproductive strategy. Tiny dwarfed males become permanently attached to relatively gigantic females, fuse their tissues and then establish a common blood circulation. Now scientists have figured out why female anglerfishes so readily accept their male mates. Their findings are published July 30 in Science.Read more
In their most recent book, Sarah Converse (unit leader, USGS Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and UW associate professor in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Environmental and Forest Sciences) and her co-editors explore how managers can use a structured decision making approach to aid in solving natural resource problems.Read more
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.Read more
A number of UW researchers have joined an international group of science and policy experts to publish a joint commentary in the journal Science, calling on U.S. and Canadian leaders to address damages and risks caused by Canadian mine pollution flowing downstream into U.S. states. Led by researchers at the University of Montana, the cohort included five graduates and one PhD candidate from the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery SciencesRead more
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.Read more
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.Read more