Latest stories

Posted 8/29/2022 by Eric Wagner

A downy black seabird chick nestled in the corner of a wooden box that is resting on top  of gravel.

Notes from the field: The Illusion of abundance

Biologist and science writer Eric Wagner recently returned from a trip to observe pigeon guillemots on Protection Island. He wonders: How much do we really know about the health of seemingly abundant bird populations?

Posted 8/25/2022 by Eric Wagner

A single harbor seal swimming with its face above and body below the surface of the water.

An eye on harbor seals

Occasionally, our magazine includes reports and essays from guest writers on the subject of Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. Biologist and author Eric Wagner has this look at an ongoing harbor seal survey at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River. Wagner says the study hinges on a basic question: Who is eating the salmon? 

More stories...


About the magazine

Welcome to Salish Sea Currents, an online magazine founded in 2014 featuring stories about the science of ecosystem recovery. We are published by the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute (PSI) with major funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. To be notified of new stories, subscribe to the PSI eNews list.


Read Salish Sea Currents

Welcome to the 2020 edition of Salish Sea Currents magazine. This is the fourth issue of the magazine, and the first one dedicated to a single theme. All of the stories in this report address the impact of climate change on the Salish Sea ecosystem. Request a hard copy at psiweb@uw.edu.

Thumbnail image of Salish Sea Currents print magazine

Browse series:

Themes from the 2022 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

Stories exploring major research themes presented during the virtual 2022 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

Themes from the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

Stories exploring major research themes presented during the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle, WA.

SSEC16 snapshots

Brief reports from the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC. Complements the more in-depth stories in Themes from the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

Disease as an ecological force

A main story and two vignettes on impacts of disease in the ecosystem. Sponsored by U.S. EPA.

In the third series of Salish Sea Currents, we present a main story and two vignettes on impacts of disease in the ecosystem. [View printable PDF of this series]

Invasive species in Puget Sound

A main story and 3 vignettes on the sources, impacts, and regulation of non-native species entering local waters. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Nearly half of the invasive species in Puget Sound's marine waters have been found within the last 20 years. Among the most common pathways for invaders are ships and boats that may carry thousands of tiny hitchhikers. Our series looks at this growing threat and some of the species of top concern.  To be notified of new Salish Sea Currents stories, subscribe to the Puget Sound Institute eNews.

Returning home: The Elwha's genetic legacy

Following dam removal, migratory salmon and other anadromous fish have been free to swim into the upper Elwha for the first time in 100 years. Their actual behaviors and reproductive success may well be driven by changes in their genetic makeup.

The orca docs: Can medical interventions help?

This three-part series explores opportunities and challenges of using medical interventions to save Puget Sound's southern resident orcas from extinction. Part 1 looks at how scientists might treat endangered southern resident orcas that face starvation and risks of disease; Part 2 considers how veterinarians have intervened with other animals in the wild, and how this might apply to orcas in Puget Sound; and Part 3 explores a federally approved vaccination program designed to ward of a deadly virus among endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

Themes from the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

A series covering major science themes presented at SSEC16 in Vancouver, BC. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

Stories exploring major research themes presented during the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC.  See also complementary reports in SSEC16 snapshots.

Booklet: 2016-17 special report for Puget Sound policymakers (PDF)

About the booklet

Rethinking shoreline armoring

An in-depth series on issues related to shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound region. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Salish Sea Currents presents an in-depth series focusing on shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound region. Close to a third of Puget Sound's shoreline is classified as armored with bulkheads and other structures meant to hold back storm surge and erosion. But new studies reveal the often significant toll this is taking on the environment. To be notified of new Salish Sea Currents stories, subscribe to the Puget Sound Institute eNews.

Themes from the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

A 10-story series covering major science themes presented at SSEC14 in Seattle, WA. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and the Puget Sound Partnership.

In this first Salish Sea Currents series, we offer 10 stories exploring major research themes presented during the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

2014 special report for Puget Sound policymakers (PDF)

Get printable flyers

Implementation Strategies

New EPA-funded Implementation Strategies are designed to target Puget Sound recovery in the most direct and coordinated way ever conducted by state and federal agencies. We report on how these strategies will affect Puget Sound’s Vital Signs for years to come, and why you should care (a lot).