The State of the Salish Sea: A Preview of the Upcoming Report
The Salish Sea is a transboundary ecosystem with almost 9 million people living within its boundaries. It is an estuary defined by numerous and extensive watersheds delivering freshwater and strong physical forcing bringing salt water from the Pacific Ocean. But the ecological function of the Salish Sea is being undermined by two pervasive threats: a growing human footprint and climate change. These impacts are not isolated—the intersection of the two yields cumulative effects across a variety of ecosystem components that are not easily measured and that are variable in space and time. A report assessing the international Salish Sea ecosystem has not been done since 1994. The forthcoming State of the Salish Sea report takes a detailed look at legacy, continuing, and emerging threats and describes opportunities to build understanding, resilience, and improvement within the ecosystem.
Dr. Kathryn Sobocinski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and the Marine and Coastal Science program at Western Washington University. She is an applied marine ecologist focusing on fishes, fish habitats, and impacts of human disturbance and climate change in coastal ecosystems. Currently, Dr. Sobocinski works on several projects within the Salish Sea, including investigations on herring egg mortality, the trophic impacts of large jellyfish aggregations, and ecosystem indicators related to salmon in the Salish Sea. She is the lead author for the upcoming State of the Salish Sea report coordinated by the Salish Sea Institute at WWU.
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