Custom Species Lists

The following list is based on a compilation by Gaydos and Pearson (2011), first published in Northwestern Naturalist  no. 92 (2011): 79-94. The authors write that the list “serves as a foundation for determining the occurrence of new species and the disappearance of others, enables selection of species as indicators for ecosystem health, and also provides a basis for identifying the mechanisms responsible for marine bird and mammal declines.” The Salish Sea is defined as the coastal zone including Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and covers 16,925 kmfrom Olympia, WA to Campbell River, in British Columbia.

The species on this list were identified using sighting and stranding data and scientific surveys, including the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program (PSAMP) and the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey.  The list includes species that reside in the Salish Sea year-round as well as species that are rarely found there but depend on the marine ecosystem. For example, the savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) nests in salt marsh habitat.

The researchers found that of the 172 bird and 37 mammal species they identified, 42% of birds and 78% of mammals are highly dependent on the marine ecosystem. This means that the remaining 58% of birds and 22% of mammals rely on both the terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and it is crucial for restoration efforts to consider how closely those ecosystems are intertwined. Ongoing documentation, the scientists added, will surely result in additional species being included on this list, which should be considered a starting point rather than a comprehensive summary.

Source: Gaydos, Joseph, and Scott Pearson. Birds and Mammals that Depend on the Salish Sea: A Compilation. Northwestern Naturalist  no. 92 (2011): 79-94.


Salish Sea-reliant mammals

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