Apr 16, 2018 /

Where has all the good sand gone?

By Mackenzie Nelson
It was a badge of honor, a trophy of a summer well-spent. The sand that collected on the floor of my car and hid in the crevices between the seats indicated how I had taken advantage of my proximity to the beach. I let it follow me home, sticking to the bottoms of my feet as I would make my way through the dunes at the end of a day in the sun. 

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Apr 9, 2018 /

Pause for Motivation

By Alex Gustafson
Time often seems to move quickly, and the pace expected for completing projects or goals can diminish the time we have available to congratulate ourselves. This is especially true as graduation approaches for some, and the end of the school year for all. I believe it is important to genuinely reflect on our experiences and take time to appreciate what we do in order to maintain our perspective, our motivation, and ultimately the quality of our work. 

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Apr 2, 2018 /

In Defense of Aquaculture: An Argument for a Sustainable Seafood Future

By Danielle Edelman
In August 2017, a massive net pen failure released thousands of Atlantic salmon into the waters of Puget Sound. This event prompted a renewed surge of energy for the many residents, lawmakers, advocacy groups, and businesses which oppose the development of net pen salmon aquaculture in Washington. From the cancellation of Cooke Aquaculture’s Port Angeles farm lease, to the signing of a bill on March 22, 2018 to eliminate the farming of non-native finfish in state waters, the future of finfish aquaculture in Washington is beginning to look grim. 

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Mar 28, 2018 /

Manta rays – They’re just like us

By Jessica Knoth
Chimpanzees preen in front of mirrors, elephants inspect themselves in reflective surfaces, and dolphins name themselves with individual whistles. Surprisingly, manta rays are in the same category as these charismatic mammals when it comes to intelligence tests. A recent study found that giant manta rays display the distinct behaviors humans assign to self-awareness. Manta rays are in the elasmobranch family of cartilaginous fishes that include sharks and skates. 

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Mar 19, 2018 /

My heart is octopied by octopuses and yours should be too

By Allison Brown
As a serial spontaneous traveler, I often end up at a destination with no plans for what to see or do. Much to the chagrin of my parents, intensive scheduling doesn’t always factor into my pre-trip planning. I enjoy that freedom to see where the days take me. My trip to Kona, on the big island of Hawaii, was a classic trip for me (and maybe even a little more organized and planned out than usual). 

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Mar 12, 2018 /

What is a Fishackathon?

By Samantha Farquhar
In short, a Fishackathon is a competition that brings data savvy people together to develop technology-based solutions to tackle large-scale fisheries issues.
‘Hackathon’ events are increasingly being used as way to source big data solutions for global problems. For example, past hackathons have worked to address human trafficking, inequality, and even water scarcity.  On February 10th and 11th, Hackernest, a non-profit tech community, and the U.S. 

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Mar 5, 2018 /

“High” Tide: Aquatic organisms may be in for a bad trip

By Celeste Barnes-Crouse
Did you know that the pharmaceuticals you take can end up in your pee? And once that’s flushed down the toilet, they can build up in aquatic environments. At the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, researchers Tawnya Peterson, Brittany Cummings and Joseph Needoba discussed how freshwater and coastal marine environments near urban centers can retain dissolved drugs, and how this has the potential to biologically affect the organisms in these ecosystems. 

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Feb 26, 2018 /

It’s time to get fired up about wildfires

By Mackenzie Nelson
From the comfort of my window seat, I watched as the sea of clouds rapidly gave way to clear skies. It was the first sign I had officially left the Pacific Northwest and was flying over Northern California. Looking west, the ocean expanded before me as I mentally marked exactly where I was along the coast—Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, etc.—checking off points confirming my journey south. 

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Feb 20, 2018 /

Sifting through the muck. Has unnecessarily inflammatory rhetoric spun the solar dispute into another useless political debate?

By Alex Tellez
The recent debate over the newly-approved ‘trade remedies’ on solar imports has U.S. citizens polarized. The solar market has become the subject of another green energy versus conventional energy, left versus right, progressive versus status quo dispute.  However, upon further investigation, the roots of these opposed sides tangle in a muddy field; the political platforms to which citizens cling collapse under scrutiny. 

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Feb 15, 2018 /

Ocean Optimism Week 3: Lighting the Way for Conservation

By Katie Keil
Two stories seem to circulate repeatedly in the news: declining sea turtle populations and the dangers of fishing to marine life. Unsurprisingly, the two are related.
Fishing gear is the single greatest threat to sea turtles. Bycatch, or the incidental capture of a species by a commercial fishery, is such an extensive problem that some small-scale fishing boats can catch 16 sea turtles a day. 

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Feb 12, 2018 /

‘Wishful recycling’: More harm than good

By Nyssa Baechler
What if I told you that, despite my best intentions, I could single-handedly be causing tons of recyclables to end up in a landfill? I am that person that hovers over the recycling, compost, and waste bins while struggling internally to decide what item goes where. I want to feel like I’m saving the environment one piece of trash at a time. 

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Feb 8, 2018 /

Ocean Optimism Week 2: Hope for the Hawaiian Monk Seal

By Spencer Showalter
For this week’s dose of #OceanOptimism, let’s fly across the Pacific to meet Hawaii’s state marine mammal: the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi)! This charismatic animal is the oldest seal species on the planet—evidence indicates that they have lived on the Hawaiian islands for several million years. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most endangered marine mammal species in the world. 

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Feb 5, 2018 /


By Ashley Bagley
Ocean acidification is Puget Sound’s silent killer for marine organisms – acidifying seawater cannot be readily seen, yet its effects are pervasive and detrimental to the Sound’s ecology and renowned shellfish industry. Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which creates a foundational change in seawater chemistry – carbon dioxide reacts with water to create carbonate and bicarbonate ions. 

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Feb 1, 2018 /

Ocean Optimism Week 1: An Ocean Half Full Mindset

By Kelly Martin
You open the newspaper or scroll through your newsfeed and it’s everywhere: another oil spill, natural disaster, or endangered species gone extinct. Doom and gloom fills the pages of most news we see, particularly news concerning the environment. After a while you may think to yourself, “is it even worth trying to fix the planet anymore?” You’re not alone in this sentiment: researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) call this “emotional numbing,” a phenomenon that occurs after repeated exposure to emotionally draining scenarios. 

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Jan 29, 2018 /


By Spencer Showalter
In November 2017, more than 200 countries convened in Bonn, Germany for Conference of the Parties 23 (COP 23), the most recent in the yearly United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conferences. These meetings began in the 1990s with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, a pioneering international agreement that set the groundwork for substantially reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. 

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Jan 22, 2018 /

Offshore Drilling Plan Bridges Political Divide

By Priscilla Rivas
“Have you seen what’s happening in the news?” is a question that seems to cause a lot of stress for environmentalists lately. From taking the phrase “climate change” out of the National Security Strategy, to drastically shrinking national monuments, the Trump Administration has stirred a lot of controversy around environmental issues. Such moves are commonly opposed by Democrats, and supported by Republicans. 

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Jan 16, 2018 /

Reviving Coal Mining in King County

By Colin Bowser
While modern-day industry in Seattle has become synonymous with technology companies, few people realize that the regional economy was once far more coal-black than environmentally-green. With industries like aerospace, timber, and shipping dominating the Puget Sound area of today, it is often not remembered that Seattle and its surrounding counties grew and flourished on the most notoriously polluting hydrocarbon: coal. 

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Jan 8, 2018 /

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Help Save Our Oceans

By Kelly Martin
Whether you were ready for it or not, another year has come and gone. With the start of 2018, a few things are inevitable: you keep writing the date with “17” at the end, the post-holidays blues set in as you go back to work or school, and you struggle to stick to your list of New Year’s resolutions. 

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Dec 18, 2017 /

Flags of (in)convenience: how illegal fishing vessels avoid the law

By Samantha Farquhar
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing has direct ties to human trafficking, drug smuggling, slavery, and even gang activity. Oh, and of course it directly affects the economic and food security of billions. For example, West Africa, a region where more than 50% get the majority of their protein intake from fisheries and over 3 million are directly employed in the industry, loses 2.3 billion dollars annually to illegal fishing. 

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Dec 12, 2017 /

How to be a political influence – as an average citizen

By Alex Gustafson
How does an average citizen make an impact on politics? Getting involved can seem daunting, but by following the below steps to engage, and utilizing the many resources out there, you can be on your way to being a political influence. Staying informed, identifying your elected officials, communicating with officials, especially through calls and attending town halls, and writing public comments are all ways to make your voice heard! 

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