Recent Top Stories
West Coast Survey Collaborates with Saildrone to Test New Technologies
Posted: November 16, 2018
A landmark study combined new onboard survey technologies with the capabilities of a small fleet of saildrones. Simultaneous observations of krill, fish, marine mammals, and seabirds from Vancouver Island to Southern California will help us better understand the impacts of predators on fish populations.
Why Salmon Need Side Channels
Posted: November 13, 2018
New research shows that one of the best ways to recover threatened Chinook salmon may be to restore the winding side channels that once gave young fish essential rearing habitat and refuge from high winter flows. Using fine-scale river maps and salmon population data, researchers created models showing that more complex rivers (those with side channels as well as deep pools, log jams, and other protective features) helped stabilize salmon numbers.
Marine Science Internships for Veterans
Posted: November 9, 2018
Two veterans will mark this Veterans' Day as part of research teams at NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), one focused on the ecological response to dam removal and the other on the effects of ocean acidification. NWFSC's internship program for veterans, known as the Washington Veterans Corps Fisheries Program, offers veterans a foothold toward a career in marine science, while also supplementing the Science Center's research staff.
Posted: October 31, 2018
This new underwater feature was discovered a few days before Halloween off the West Coast in an area called La Cruz Canyon. The image was taken from an ROV during a research cruise aboard the NOAA ship Bell M. Shimada to study deep sea corals and sponges. The "witch's hat" is a lava-like solidified asphalt mound formed below the sea surface. Such features form when heavy hydrocarbons are released at the sea floor, creating flow features like lava flows.
West Coast survey for coral and sponge habitat
Posted: October 31, 2018
Scientists are using underwater vehicles to survey deepwater coral and sponge habitat and collect baseline data on essential fish habitat during a month-long cruise along OR and CA on the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada. Stay tuned for more about this collaborative cruise involving NOAA's NWFSC and SWFSC, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and US Geological Survey.
Documenting the Diversity of Shellfish Beds
Posted: October 19, 2018
Oyster beds are home to more than just oysters, a new collaborative research project shows. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and partners worked with shellfish growers to place GoPro cameras around Puget Sound, capturing hundreds of hours of video and showcasing a diversity of species, including sharks, crabs, flatfish, and salmon. Shellfish aquaculture is vital to Washington's economy; we're beginning to see how it helps the marine ecosystem, too.
Deepwater Horizon Study: Unexpected Results
Posted: October 11, 2018
A new analysis of data on key Gulf of Mexico fish, shrimp, and crab species before and after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill found little sign of any long-term disruptions in abundance, a result that runs counter to food web models and laboratory studies on oil toxicology. This may be a "false negative" due to the nature of the dataset used in the analysis, as studies of individual animals after oil spills have shown that lasting impacts do occur.
New Lab Unlocks Opportunities for Future Scientists
Posted: October 4, 2018
For many students from high-poverty communities, becoming a scientist can seem like an impossible dream. Ocean Discovery Institute's new science education lab is bringing new opportunities to underserved youth in one San Diego community, forging a path for other communities to follow.
Species Diversity and the "Portfolio Effect"
Posted: October 3, 2018
Which is more important for a healthy marine ecosystem, the diversity of species in a single spot or the distribution of species across a large area? NOAA's NWFSC and the University of Washington teamed up to find out, and their results have just been published. This work will help fishery managers gauge ecosystem health and better understand the effects of species diversity on fishing "portfolios" and income in the west coast groundfish fishery.
Help Save the Puget Sound Coho
Posted: October 3, 2018
Coho salmon are dying from toxic stormwater when they return to Puget Sound. Urban runoff from rooftops, roads, and other man-made surfaces is poisonous to coho, but there are things you can do to help! Watch informative videos and learn how you can become a citizen scientist by contributing to an interactive map.
Warm Water Means Hungry Forage Fish
Posted: September 25, 2018
Forage fish such as anchovy and sardines have been forced to eat an energy-poor, low-nutrition diet due to the unusually warm temperatures across the Pacific Ocean in recent years. Instead of their preferred diet of plankton, the fish have been consuming jellies and other "junk food," leaving them smaller and in poorer body condition. This in turn makes these fish less nutritious to the seabirds, marine mammals, and other organisms -- including humans -- that feed on them.
Testing a New Sea Drone for HABs Forecasting
Posted: September 24, 2018
A new autonomous surface/underwater vehicle, the Submaran S10, is being deployed on a test mission to sample seawater for harmful algal bloom cells and toxins. This wind- and solar-powered vessel increases our capacity to sample the Juan de Fuca Eddy, one of the known initiation sites for HABs off the Washington coast, and contributes to the NOAA Pacific Northwest HABs Bulletin, a forecast system that supports the management of shellfisheries, clamming beaches, and human health.
Salmon Mural Unveiling
Posted: September 14, 2018
NOAA Fisheries' West Coast Region has been working with a local youth group, Lake City Young Leaders, to create a salmon mural in Lake City. All are welcome to join the Lake City community on Thursday, September 20, from 5-7 pm to celebrate Puget Sound and its salmon.
DTAGs Help Us Study Killer Whales at Night
Posted: September 7, 2018
Researchers from NOAA Fisheries will soon begin studying the nighttime behavior of Southern Resident killer whales using digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs), which attach to the whales with suction cups. The DTAGs will help us better understand how much time the whales spend foraging and their use of sound, and will inform policies that might better protect the whales from vessel noise. DTAGs usually remain on the whales for one or two days before falling off on their own.
Southern Resident killer whale updates
Posted: August 20, 2018
Biologists are responding to an emaciated and ailing three year-old killer whale, J50 (also known as Scarlet), of the critically endangered Southern Resident population. Responders from NOAA Fisheries and partner organizations are working together to explore options and treatment. J35, an adult female (also known as Tahlequah), who carried her dead calf for over two weeks, is also being monitored.
Robin Waples awarded 2018 Molecular Ecology Prize
Posted: August 14, 2018
The 2018 Molecular Ecology prize has been awarded to Robin Waples for his work on conservation biology and management, as the leading expert on approaches for using molecular markers to estimate and understand effective population size in natural populations and use of time series analyses. His studies have made important contributions to understanding fisheries populations and advanced the fields of conservation and evolutionary ecology.
Safer boats for seabirds
Posted: July 23, 2018
Scientists and industry partners helped design solutions to the problem of seabirds striking net cables on catcher-processor vessels in fisheries along the U.S. West Coast and Alaska. Five potential solutions are being voluntarily tested by such vessels, potentially saving the lives of endangered albatross and other seabirds. The measures are described in a new NOAA Technical Memorandum.
Saildrone launch begins test to improve West Coast fisheries surveys
Posted: June 27, 2018
Two autonomous Saildrones launched from Neah Bay, Wash., Tuesday on a summer-long partnership between Saildrone Inc., NOAA Fisheries and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to find out whether the wind and solar-powered vehicles can improve the efficiency and accuracy of fisheries surveys off the West Coast.
Saildrones join NOAA fleet for experimental fisheries surveys
Posted: June 26, 2018
NOAA Fisheries' two West Coast Science laboratories are joining forces with the Alameda, Calif., company Saildrone Inc. to test the first use of autonomous, wind and solar-powered vehicles to gather essential data on West Coast fish populations, including commercially valuable species such as hake, sardine, and anchovy.
Archived Top Stories
Mike Peterson/Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Less Error, Better Forecasts
Posted: June 22, 2018
A new technical memorandum describes a statistical framework for modeling population changes in Chinook salmon in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. This integrated population model provides a way for fish biologists, managers, and industry to make better-informed decisions about fisheries management by providing more accurate estimates of future populations and their risks of extinction.