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183 posts in In the News

Harbor seal skulls provide clues to Puget Sound’s past food webs

The adage “you are what you eat” generally turns out to be true. Foods we ingest are broken down into amino acids and absorbed into our bodies, leaving trace elements in our bones. In turn, these amino acids can be traced back to their source like a biological receipt, revealing information about the environment. Using this knowledge, researchers are conducting isotope analysis of amino acids in harbor seal skulls to determine the composition of historical marine food webs.

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‘By-the-wind sailor’ jellies wash ashore in massive numbers after warmer winters

Velella velella, also called “by-the-wind sailor” jellies, that washed ashore at Moolack Beach, Oregon

Thanks to 20 years of observations from thousands of citizen scientists, University of Washington researchers have discovered distinct patterns in the mass strandings of by-the-wind sailor jellies. Specifically, large strandings happened simultaneously from the northwest tip of Washington south to the Mendocino coast in California, and in years when winters were warmer than usual.

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Julia Indivero awarded ESA 2021 Graduate Student Policy Award

Julia L. Indivero headshot

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is honored to announce the Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA) 2021 cohort. This award provides graduate students with the opportunity to receive policy and communication training before they meet lawmakers. ESA selected 23 students to receive the award including Julia L. Indivero from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

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DNA sequencing reveals genetic basis of herring biodiversity

Conducting herring field work in Bella Bella, British Columbia in 2014. Richard Reid (Heiltsuk Coastal Guardian Watchmen), Eleni Petrou (UW) and Kira Krumhansl (SFU) subsample herring for genetic research.

Herring that spawn at different times of the year are genetically distinct from one another, according to a new paper published Feb 24th in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The study, led by Eleni Petrou and Lorenz Hauser from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, shows that populations of Pacific herring along the US west coast are genetically structured based on when they spawn and secondarily, where they spawn.

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In Brazil, many smaller dams disrupt fish more than large hydropower projects

A small hydropower dam in Brazil

A new University of Washington paper quantifies the tradeoffs between hydroelectric generation capacity and the impacts on river connectivity for thousands of current and projected future dams across Brazil. The findings confirm that small hydropower plants are far more responsible for river fragmentation than their larger counterparts due to their prevalence and distribution.

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