Now a staff and guest favorite, Asiqtuq “Tuq” the harbor seal was brought to the Alaska SeaLife Center through the Wildlife Response Program. The call came on May 27, 2021, through the ASLC’s 24-hour Stranded Marine Animal Hotline (1-888-774-SEAL ) concerning an abandoned seal pup near Tonsina Point, about three miles south of the Alaska […]
Read More Overcoming the Odds: Tuq’s Journey from Rescue Patient to ASLC RESIDENT
Extreme climate events are being experienced worldwide, and Alaska ecosystems, unfortunately, have a front-row seat. Heatwaves, droughts, floods, and hurricanes, are having profound environmental impacts, and are expected to continue for decades to come. One of these extreme climate events, called the Pacific marine heatwave, occurred between 2014 and 2016. During this time, water temperatures […]
Read More New Publication: Changes in Steller Sea Lion Winter Diets Following the Pacific Marine Heatwave
In the Summer of 2022, I moved 5,000 miles from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Seward, Alaska; I had no permanent housing, no friends, and little familiarity with the state’s rugged landscape – only a determined spirit that I trust has guided me on the right path. The decision to move was prompted by the desire […]
Read More “Tidepooling: Embracing Alaska Through a Gentle Touch”
While most pinnipeds haul out on land to rest, give birth, and care for their young, Arctic dwelling seals rely instead on floating sea ice. Residing in harsh and remote territories, these seals have proven difficult to study in the wild, leaving many aspects of their behavior, physiology, and population status unknown. As the ice […]
Read More Study on Spotted Seal Vocal Behavior Study Opens New Avenues for wild Research
Pilot reached an important milestone this year, hitting 2,000 pounds on May 14, 2022 and reaching his top weight of 2,030 pounds on May 25, 2022. Only two ASLC resident Steller sea lions have reached the 2,000-pound milestone: Woody, the famous first male Steller to call ASLC home, and now Pilot. Pilot’s impressive weight change […]
Read More Body Building: Bulking up with male Steller Sea lions
The Wildlife Response Program patients include a young harbor seal and a sea otter pup The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) recently admitted two patients to the Wildlife Response Program, a young male harbor seal (the third admitted in 2022) and a male sea otter pup. The harbor seal pup was reported by the captain of […]
Read More ASLC Admits Two New Marine Mammal Patients
There is no denying that plastic waste is a problem. Whether it’s trash scattered around the parking lot or 620,000 square miles of garbage gathering in the Pacific Ocean, plastic waste is everywhere. Between nearly fifty years of public service announcements and campaigns promoting the familiar “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” slogan, many Americans have acknowledged […]
Read More Beyond “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”
If you’ve never heard of a ringed seal, prepare for your life to be changed for the better! Mine certainly was when I met these amazing marine mammals for the first time. Before I started at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), I thought ringed seals were just another seal species. They’d probably be cute and have […]
Read More What makes ringed seals so special?
By Juliana Kim, Mammalogist and PHOCAS research trainer We previously posted a blog about the PHOCAS project, a research program at the Alaska SeaLife Center that exemplifies how science and animal training can intersect to achieve conservation goals. The ‘Training for Science’ blog showcased several different ways in which our resident ringed and spotted seals […]
Read More Shedding Light on Molting Ice Seals
My forearms were starting to burn as hand over hand I pulled in the 950ft of line from the depths of Resurrection Bay. The first 3 lines we pulled in were empty, save for the salmon heads we used as bait, but this one sounded different. The whir of the hauler was a bit louder, […]
Read More Sleeper Shark Science 2020
Grey seal breeding colonies are stressful places. Hundreds or even thousands of females arrive on shore every autumn, jostling and moving about to find the perfect spot to give birth and nurse their pups. As the season progresses, pups begin to wander about, trying to avoid the hormonal males who are picking fights and waiting […]
Read More Being Individual
The ASLC has offered an internship program, training the next generation of ocean educators, scientists and conservationists, for almost 20 years. Summer is typically our busiest time, with over 25 enthusiastic new recruits arriving from all over the US; however, this year we unfortunately had to press pause as part of our continued efforts to […]
Read More Where are they now?
Right about now, we would be sharing stories about how our researchers are dusting off their field gear, checking xtratufs (wellies) for leaks, and making those first few voyages out onto the water. Research is a team sport—data collectors, observers, boat operators, laboratory technicians—and often requires travel to field sites either by the researchers themselves […]
Read More Summer of Science 2020
There are many things that don’t go well together. Water and cellphones. Superman and kryptonite. Bare feet and LEGOs. Art and science? At first glance it might seem art and science are polar opposites too. According to the Oxford Dictionary, art is defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically […]
Read More Where wonder exists
All around a symphony, a cacophony, of birds. I woke up to those sounds every day for a week, even before the dim light of the sunrise could creep through my curtains. It was the soundtrack that accompanied me down the wooden-planked walkway, or as I biked past the citrus grove. The birds that didn’t […]
Read More Fly Away Home
Both wildlife and humans depend on marine coastal habitats and the species that reside there, but these places are experiencing changing environmental conditions and human activity, which could potentially harm coastal resources. In order for state and federal agencies to manage and protect these environments, methods are needed to detect changes in coastal environments over […]
Read More Coastal Molecular Monitoring
Sattler R, Bishop AM, Polasek L. 2020. Cortisol Levels for Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Human Care. Aquatic Mammals, 46: 146-151. Open Access Feeling stressed? Repeating the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy advice “Don’t Panic” to yourself? You’re not alone…in more ways than you may know! All animals experience ‘stress’. We’ve […]
Read More Stressful times
Even with our doors closed, the mission of the ASLC carries on–to generate and share scientific information. In fact, our organization was founded for the specific purpose of conducting marine research and we love sharing our research adventures, antics, analyses and accomplishments with you here on the blog. With everyone safely hunkered down at home, […]
Read More ASLC Science goes LIVE!
Paper in a Nutshell: Bishop, Dubel, Sattler, Brown, Horning. 2019. Wanted dead or alive: characterizing likelihood of juvenile Steller sea lion predation from diving and space use patterns. Endangered Species Research. Endangered species is a topic that we can all relate to. Whether it is a Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) that is living in your […]
Read More A Steller Study
As I was writing a new blog post on the signals of stress in animals (stay tuned for that next week!), I started to notice my own physiological response to the events of the last weeks: Pacing in my new home office? check. Increased heart-rate? check. Anxiety? check. Lack of sleep? Well that’s fairly normal, […]
Read More Editor’s Note
Paper in a Nutshell: Nielsen, Christiansen, et.al. 2019. Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus) Stomach Contents and Stable Isotope Values Reveal an Ontogenetic Dietary Shift. Frontiers in Marine Science. What can sharks tell us about ocean food webs? The ocean is full of creatures, from benthic invertebrates to pelagic fish to the largest mammals in the world. […]
Read More WHO’S EATING WHAT?
Paper in a Nutshell:Constraint lines and performance envelopes in behavioral physiology: the case of the aerobic dive limit. Markus Horning, Frontiers in Physiology 2012; 3:381 All humans have a blind spot (puntum caecum in medical parlance): if you look directly at something it’s hard to see, but if you look to the side it becomes […]
Read More Data in the blind spot
If you don’t remember or aren’t familiar with the new science exhibit at the Alaska SeaLife Center, we are taking questions from the public and answering them through our blog and social media. To see some questions answered you can always visit our previous posts about questions from the public. The new science exhibit strikes […]
Read More THE PLASTIC PROBLEM
For those of you that follow this blog, you may have noticed at this time every year ASLC scientists, students and interns attend the annual gathering of scientists and managers called the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. For a week of science-filled fun, I am usually running around between sessions, learning about marine heatwaves, finding collaborators […]
Read More Ocean Connections
When you look at an extremely zoomed in picture and you see a blurry, orange color, what is it a picture of? Is it an orangutan? A flower? Maybe it’s a tiger? Sometimes when you look at a picture too close up, you can’t actually tell what the big picture is. The same is true […]
Read More AMSS 2020: THE BIG PICTURE
Hello! I’m Mary, the new science communications intern at the Alaska SeaLife Center. I often close my eyes and imagine the ocean….a far off place with one hundred different shades of blue, an open space as deep as 36,000 feet, an endless array of meaning filled with unknown creatures and discoveries to be made. I […]
Read More ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
In case you missed any of our posts, over the past 365 days we have been very busy in the ASLC Science Department! Here are some of the highlights from 2019: Here Sharky Sharky Sharky! Our biggest research project of the year entailed an exploration into the world of the elusive and enigmatic Pacific Sleeper […]
Read More 2019: A Year in Review
Allen et al. 2019. “Muscular apoptosis but not oxidative stress increases with old age in a long-lived diver, the Weddell seal” Journal of Experimental Biology. You’ve likely heard of “dog years” before, but what about seal years? Do wild animals age the same way that pets and humans do? Turns out – we don’t always […]
Read More Age: Is it really just a number?
Back in August, we started the story of Toby and Xena (link), two juvenile elephant seals that are part of my graduate research investigating how marine mammals thermoregulate while diving. I don’t know if researchers are allowed to have favorites, but Toby definitely had me and my team feeling grateful for such a cooperative seal, […]
Read More Citizen Scientists find my seal!
Many of us will be settling down at our dinner tables this week, ready to dive into delicious turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce with family and friends. In honor of that feast and festivities–enjoy theses videos taken by the Nautilus Live crew of a smorgasbord discovered deep on the ocean floor. Bonus: if your […]
Read More Dinner table under the sea
In our last post (click here if you missed it!), we chatted about tools scientists use to monitor and estimate wildlife population size. While we mentioned several techniques that can be used, we ended with the question: Can Argos satellite transmitter tags be used for electronic mark-resight studies? The short answer: probably yes. The long […]
Read More Can you hear me now?
Electronic mark-resight studies: part 1 Aspiring young scientists often joke that they should put “expert counter” on their resume. Counting seals, counting barnacles in a quadrat, counting birds, counting cells… you name it, an intern has counted it. This is because a lot of ecological research and conservation requires knowing how many of something there […]
Read More Gummy Bears and Math
Do you like random facts about animals? Do you like watching YouTube? Then you should definitely check out “True Facts” by zefrank1 This series of videos is the product of what is clearly some pretty rigorous research. They chronicle the lives of many of the overlooked species that aren’t as ‘charismatic’ as a whale or […]
Read More True Facts
Horning M, et al. 2019. Best practice recommendations for the use of external telemetry devices on pinnipeds. Animal Biotelemetry, 7(1), 1-17. Open Access As scientists, we often connect with each other over a coffee at conferences, through message boards on online forums, and more recently through various social media outlets such as blogging and twitter. Connecting with […]
Read More Instruction manuals for scientists
We had our last day sharking on this past Sunday, but no weekend sharks were to be found. So as we pack up the totes of line, buoys and gear— it looks like it’s a wrap for shark season 2019! And what a season it was! Our team spent over 30 days on the […]
Read More Sunset on Shark Season 2019
Steingass S, Horning M, Bishop AM. Space use of Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) from two haulout locations along the Oregon coast. PloS one. 2019 Jul 31;14(7):e0219484. Click Here for Open Access Paper A quickly changing coastline The Oregon coast is a dynamic and vibrant 363-mile stretch of the eastern Pacific. While a few […]
Read More Paper in a nutshell: Harbor Seal movements along the Oregon Coast
Often, when I was out on the floor monitoring the touch tank and pointing out California sea cucumbers to curious guests, people would strike up a conversation, asking how long I’d been working here. I would tell them that I was here for a 3 month internship doing research, and that this had been a […]
Read More A Steller Menu
Now that our summer season of sharks, fieldwork, and exploration is beginning to wind down, many of the ASLC researchers are retreating to their offices like bears to their dens. There, we find a never-ending conveyor belt of new papers and information that has piled up over the summer, waiting to be read. While reading […]
Read More Pick up a good book
When we’d discussed the idea of having questions and answers from our exhibit room this summer, I was happy to act as a Google search for simpler questions about animals because curiosity is amazing, and many of these questions make me smile (“Do Fish Yawn?” Yes, Evan R. they do!!). But, I also had really […]
Read More What can we do?
Translocations Season 1 Recap Last season, Obedient Juvie (a.k.a. O.J.) and Curious Juvie (a.k.a. C.J.) helped me out with my first pilot study to test heat flux biologgers (what are these?) on freely swimming juvenile elephant seals. Not only did we learn what worked and what didn’t work in terms of sensor attachment and configuration, […]
Read More Déjà vu
I shivered as my legs slipped beneath the 42⁰F water; everyone was up to their thighs in the cold water for our first day of metabolic trials with the Pacific sleeper shark. Even with waders on, I could feel the chill in my toes. Angelica handed me a large red plastic board and I carefully […]
Read More Live slow and prosper
In partnership with Point Defiance Zoo, and with funding from the Dr. Holly Reed Conservation Fund, last year we set out to validate if eDNA could be a useful tool for monitoring the prey for Pacific Walrus. We geared up, went into the field, collected our samples, and enjoyed some sunsets–you can read more about that […]
Read More From field to lab
Last month I took leave from my internship at the Alaska SeaLife Center and traveled to Anchorage to attend the 137th Annual Meeting of the American Ornithological Society from June 24th through 28th. Taking place in a different U.S. locale every year, Anchorage was the northern-most conference in AOS history! As an undergraduate student and […]
Read More AOS 2019: Celebrating Women in Ornithology
With the initial excitement calming down from our new shark visitor (see this post for details), I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the people behind our Sleeper Shark Project—lead by Dr. Markus Horning and Dr. Chris Lowe. In the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with this amazing team of […]
Read More Adventures in Exploring the Unknown: Q & A
“Straight ahead!” Dr. Horning called out to the crew, taking his binoculars down and smiling. We had been gently bobbing south down Resurrection Bay for the last 40min, listening for the soft beep of the goniometer to confirm we were getting closer to our target—a miniPAT tag that had detached from a Pacific Sleeper Shark […]
Read More Operation Sleeper Keeper
As part of our new science exhibit at the Alaska SeaLife Center, we asked you–the visitors–to write down your questions about the ocean, tagging, or marine research. The participation has been amazing and we’re going to highlight answers to your burning questions here on 60°N Science and social media (follow us on Facebook and Instagram). […]
Read More Question and Answer
Well, after an exciting summer of 2018 where we captured and worked with nine Pacific sleeper sharks here in Resurrection Bay, we are at it again for the summer of 2019. Our capture efforts are for a research project funded by the North Pacific Research Board. The project is carried out in collaboration with the […]
Read More We need a smaller shark (or a bigger boat)!
This summer at the ASLC there is a new exhibit in town and it is all about science! As you walk past the model ship and across from Harbor Bottom, you notice a door. Last year in celebration of our 20th Anniversary, this room showcased our history and our mission. It reminded us of where […]
Read More Science on Exhibit!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its…..a DRONE! One of the hottest new tech gadgets, drones are not just for taking cool aerial pictures and for creating nighttime light shows. They are also a powerful tool for conservation. This summer, our researchers are starting a new project funded by the North Pacific […]
Read More Taking Flight
The anticipation I felt was more than I expected—every couple of hours I was logging into the Argos system database to check the latest satellite hits. Where were my seals going? Earlier that day: As a first-year graduate student in The Costa Lab at UC Santa Cruz, I was conducting my first field experiment with […]
Read More Translocations: science with some plot twists
Almost 100 years before Darwin set sail for the Galapagos, Georg Wilhelm Steller made landfall in what is now Alaska. There, he was greeted with sun-edged mountains, windswept islands, and a host of species he’d never seen before. Steller is now credited with ‘discovering’ six species of bird and mammal many of which bear his […]
Read More Modern Discoveries
A few months ago, we shared an initial update about our project funded by SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund looking into Steller sea lion pregnancy hormones. In that blog (read it here), we showed the multi-step process of taking a donated fecal sample and preparing it for hormone quantification. In short, this process involved removing […]
Read More Feeling Hormonal
We had 5 days to prep 4 tags—should be doable, right? Add a couple extra pairs of hands to help and it should be a walk in the park…right? Maybe I should start with the fact that I had no experience refurbishing and prepping tags before the Tag Workshop hosted by Dr. Markus Horning at […]
Read More To build a tag
Studying the aerial and aquatic movement of alcids “So which one of these birds is the worst at flying?” asks a visitor to the aquarium. I don’t answer. My eyes lock on the rhinoceros auklet standing on the edge of the rocks. She’s spent the last ten minutes scaling the mottled gray cliff on the […]
Read More Fly like a bird, swim like a penguin
It goes without saying the actual work scientists do is important, but how that research is communicated is equally as significant. For what good does scientific research do if not shared with others so we can all move forward in our understanding and adapt to the ever-changing world? Hopefully by now you have been following […]
Read More AMSS 2019: Presentation is Key
Opposite ends of our country, but science knows no bounds I currently work in Northwest Florida, which in many ways is the polar opposite of Alaska. Our Gulf doesn’t have majestic marine ecosystems littered with unique marine mammals and diving sea birds. We don’t have grandiose mountains and glaciers. And the only ice you’ll find […]
Read More AMSS 2019: Florida to Alaska
Last week was a whirlwind of presentations, talks, and workshops. It was a lot of information to take in over four days, but I managed to leave Anchorage with many new ideas, thoughts, and reflections bouncing around in my brain. Some of those ideas are going to manifest as changes on sleepersharks.org, but others will […]
Read More AMSS 2019: Looking back at Jargon and Social Media
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs (find them here and here), you know that my current research has no correlation to Alaska marine life or ecosystems, besides the fact that I am collaborating with ASLC’s Dr. Markus Horning. I’ve never been to Alaska before—or even seen more than 2 inches of snow—but I […]
Read More AMSS 2019: Impressions from a First-timer
I was asked to write a post from AMSS – to share something that stuck with me from the many wonderful talks, presentations, and people at the meeting in Anchorage this week. Today’s focus was on the Arctic, the northernmost region represented at the conference and the portion of Alaska that encompasses some of the […]
Read More AMSS 2019: Badass women of science
If you followed our blog over the summer, you might remember my series of posts on outreach and communication. Helping audiences understand and be inspired by science is something I spent a lot of time thinking about, so I was very excited to attend this morning’s Communicating Ocean Sciences Workshop, led by Hakai Magazine’s Jude […]
Read More AMSS 2019: Communicating Ocean Sciences Workshop
I am always excited when in the dark of winter, the Alaska Marine Science Symposium rolls around. It’s a beautiful but long 126 miles from Seward to Anchorage. “We’re at the end of the road” quite literally—the SeaLife Center is at mile 1 of the Seward Highway with only the Pacific Ocean behind us. There […]
Read More AMSS 2019
Good enough for government work Etymology: This idiomatic expression was originally used in World War II to indicate that a product satisfied the high standards of quality demanded by the US government and could therefore be accepted towards efforts to win the war. However, since the early 1960’s the conversational use of the phrase has […]
Read More The shutdown chronicles 2: good enough for government work?
Synchronicity and the butterfly effect are wreaking havoc with marine science. Synchronicity – syn.chro.nic.i.ty – /ˌsiNGkrəˈnisədē/ Definition: ‘meaningful coincidences’ – the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear related but have no discernible causal connection. Butterfly effect Definition: ‘an African butterfly’s wing-beats can lead to hurricanes across the Atlantic’ – In chaos theory, the butterfly effect […]
Read More Friday Frontiers: “The shutdown chronicles”
A co-worker recently said to me, “I don’t know what you do on an average day”. It isn’t uncommon in an organization of our size not to know the day-to-day happenings of all your co-workers. That was partially why we started this blog, to share with our ASLC family and all of you the highlights, […]
Read More A look back at 2018
Drones, gliders, and ROVs are all being used to help scientists better study the oceans and marine animals. For example, students at Duke University Marine Lab have been using drones to survey pinnipeds on the Pribilof Islands, AK. Well, now robotic jellyfish have been added to the list! Check out this story from Science News […]
Read More Friday Frontiers 12-21-18
Poop is underrated in conservation biology. These smelly samples can tell you what animals are eating, their levels of stress, or whether they are infected by a disease. In a study led by ASLC Research Associate Renae Sattler, funded by the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, we’re hoping to learn if poop can also […]
Read More The power of poop
For our Friday Frontiers this week we get back to our favorite topic: sharks! In a recent study from California (appropriately published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science), scientists were trying to find new techniques for monitoring Great White Sharks. Shark conservation and research is difficult. For some elusive species, half of the battle is […]
Read More Friday Frontiers 12-14-18
New Feature! Tune in every Friday for a story from the frontiers of marine science–new and exciting information, papers, or observations that are happening around the world. To kick things off, we need to travel to our neighbor to the south, Hawaii, where scientists on remote islands noticed something strange was happening to the monk […]
Read More Friday Frontiers 12-7-18
Back in August we caught our 4th Pacific Sleeper shark. This animal was tagged with a Wildlife Computers mini-PAT (satellite pop-up tag) and then was released right off Caines Head in Resurrection Bay. The mini-PAT had been scheduled to detach itself 90 days after deployment, which was Monday. And right on schedule, on Monday, the tag […]
Read More Needle in a haystack
A great new paper from a former ASLC graduate student, Courtney Shuert, who is now working on her PhD in the UK. In this paper, Courtney shares how scientists can use emerging technology like accelerometers to better understand the behavior of wild animals!
Read More Paper in a nutshell: Accelerometers, Machine Learning, and Behaviour
Imagine this scenario: You’re going for a jog outside, but seeing some snow on the ground, you decide to put on a thermal long-sleeve shirt underneath your sweatshirt. Right as you step out the door, you sure are glad you added that extra layer. After a few minutes into your jog, you notice you’re breathing […]
Read More Coping with lots of fat: A marine mammal’s perspective
Lessons learned and new horizons Well our first season of researching sharks is wrapped up! It has been a roller coaster and an example of teamwork in action. Since our first efforts at camera deployment and attempts at fishing, we have logged over 20 days on the water, from 3 different boats, and with a […]
Read More Sleeper Shark Season Wrap-up
Three distinct sets of bubbles moved around on the surface of the water, with Richard keeping a watchful eye. Renae and I knelt on the back deck of the boat, labeling bottles and sample vials. “They’re up!” We both looked up from our perch to see three divers now at the surface of the water […]
Read More The beginning of a new project
ASLC hit the ground running on May 2, 1998. Several research projects began and focused on marine mammals, crustaceans, fish, birds and technology.
Read More Looking Back at the ASLC’s First Year of Research
It’s 5:30 am and we just loaded up the Costa Lab truck with the cages and gear and pulled out of Long Marine Lab. Some heavy lifting early in the morning will sure do the trick to get your blood flowing and wake you up. The cages are not usually needed for most fieldwork days, […]
Read More A Glimpse into the Graduate School Journey
Back in 2015, I participated in #LibWorkIT, a social media campaign that highlighted some of the diverse professional responsibilities of librarians throughout Florida. My contributions weren’t terribly exciting, but it was fun to participate and see what my colleagues were up to throughout the week. While there isn’t a similar hashtag for ASLC fellows, I […]
Read More A summer in the life of a research fellow
Paper in a Nutshell Bishop AM, Brown CB, Rehberg M, Torres L, & Horning M. 2018. Juvenile Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) utilization distributions in the Gulf of Alaska. Movement Ecology, 6:6 Open Access *** It is a Saturday morning. You wake up, walk to your kitchen, and make breakfast. Maybe you then head out […]
Read More Home Sweet Home Range
When I started drafting this post, I planned to write about how to use (or not to use) technical language in science communication. Technical language (more frequently referred to as “jargon”) is a hot topic in the science communication world and articles, essays, and tip-sheets on the topic abound. Rather than re-hashing what’s already been […]
Read More Jargon and Readability
To wrap up Shark week, we will continue the story of our Pacific sleeper shark research project. Now where did we leave off…? “It’s a shark!” Everyone clambered to the side of the boat to lean over and get a look. Sure enough, on our last hook of the day was a huge shark! Days […]
Read More It’s a shark!
To hearken back to Philina’s post from a few weeks ago–in my family I do sometimes fill the role of a ‘Nerd of Trust‘. I’ve had conversations about the scaling potential for a basement humidifier to solve droughts, and I’ve been asked to give talks on seals for my friend’s kindergarten class. There is one […]
Read More Shark Week: To watch or not to watch?
It is that time of year again: Shark Week is beginning on the Discovery Channel, so we decided to have our own “Shark Week: Alaska Edition” here on 60° North Science!! To kick things off–check out this Alaska Public Media podcast about sharks in Alaska waters. Guests included our very own Dr. Markus Horning as well as […]
Read More Sharks in Alaska
A few weeks ago we posted about the surprising saga of the shark satellite tag scavenger hunt. Due to the unexpected nature of that occurrence, we actually got ahead of ourselves here on 60N on the story of the Sleeper Shark Research Project. Before the tag could be lost and then found–we first had to […]
Read More Here Sharky, Sharky, Sharky
Traditional ideas of scientific outreach and communication usually refer to press releases, news articles, public talks, formal and informal education, and public demonstrations. These are all valid (and excellent!) choices for outreach. But what about less traditional means? Social media and science communication Many people think of social media management as a light, fluffy, fun […]
Read More Social Media and Outreach
What is outreach? Part 2 In my last post, I covered some of the immediate and small scale benefits of outreach: researchers who participate in public engagement and outreach develop better analytical and research skills while also helping to dispel myths and stereotypes about scientists. While certainly important, these justifications are not the primary goal […]
Read More Shrimp treadmills and nerds of trust
In my last post, I introduced myself and mentioned that I’m at the ASLC to work on outreach. But that begs the question: What exactly is “outreach” and why should we care? No one can agree on a single, “official” definition of outreach (and if you go searching, you will in fact find many different […]
Read More What is outreach? Part 1
Say hello to the summer 2018 ASLC research fellows! Kathryn Hello! My name is Kathryn Appler, and I am a research fellow this summer at the Alaska SeaLife Center. I graduated from Coe College with a BA in Biology and Sociology. During my undergraduate career, I completed a scholar’s thesis on biofilm architecture of Shewanella […]
Read More Welcome Summer 2018 Research Fellows!
On May 31st, our ASLC Shark Research Team caught our first Pacific Sleeper Shark (we posted the picture of our success a few weeks ago here). As she was too big for our main study, we collected various measurements, samples, and attached a satellite tag to track her movements and diving patterns after release (Permit […]
Read More Shark Tag Recovered!
In the Gulf of Alaska and farther west, Steller sea lions are listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act of the United States. Most of this western distinct population segment has exhibited a significant positive trend over the previous decade and appeared to be well on the road to recovery. However, this recovery may […]
Read More Chiswell Island Steller Sea Lions Having Another Tough Year
If you really pay attention to these animals, you will notice there are a variety of gender roles within these processes that are far from heteronormative relationships.
Read More Animal Attractions
Our first Pacific sleeper shark, and already we need a bigger boat! Story to follow. Permit CF-18-041.
Read More We’re gonna need a bigger boat…
Greetings! My name is Philina Richardson and I am a science outreach fellow at the Alaska SeaLife Center this summer. My primary objective this summer is to develop an outreach website for the Pacific Sleeper Shark Project. To help support this objective (and to shed some light on the nature of outreach and why it’s […]
Read More From the Fellow Series: Introductions
The ASLC houses captive research flocks of both Steller’s and spectacled eiders, which are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. At this time of the year, the eiders have been exhibiting courtship behaviors and building pair bonds, and the chosen breeding pairs of the season will be moved into breeding units. But […]
Read More Tundra Transformation on Eider ODL
It was one of those rare truly epic days in Resurrection Bay: sun shining, sparkling calm seas, endless snowcapped mountain views. Our team assembled, and everyone was sipping the last of their coffees as the Jubatus, the ASLC research vessel, pulled out of the harbor. “Everyone ready?” I asked. When smiles and nods were returned, […]
Read More Murphy’s Law: A day on the water
Next week Wednesday and Thursday, May 9th and 10th, the Alaska SeaLife Center will be hosting its first Ocean Science Symposium! This two day event will feature science talks from researchers from around the world, and from researchers right in our south-central Alaskan backyard. Come and hear about research investigating great white sharks, salmon, dolphins, […]
Read More Next week: Ocean Science Symposium
Paper in a nutshell based on the recent publication: Counihan, K (2018) The physiological effects of oil, dispersant and dispersed oil on the bay mussel, Mytilus trossulus, in Arctic/Subarctic conditions. Aquatic Toxicology 199:220-231. Oil spills have a major impact on coastal environments, and dispersants are used to help speed up oil degradation. The combination […]
Read More Mighty Mussels Vs Oil
How does a seal capture and eat it’s prey in the water? Several people and institutions came together to investigate this question and explore the evolution of prey processing behaviors in phocine (seals) and otariid (sea lions). This collaborative work included researchers from Monash University in Australia, University of St. Andrews in the UK, Museum of […]
Read More Tooth and Claw
The Changing Tides project is investigating the ties between intertidal invertebrates, brown bears and people in Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks. Below is the link to the fourth and last video in the series posted by NPS on the project. It discusses why bears were observed. Written by: Dr. Katrina Counihan
Read More A Bear-y Important Piece of the Puzzle
Pregnancy in any species is often a critical, energetically demanding time. Females require adequate quantity and quality food intake to support their developing offspring. The Steller sea lion, the largest of the otariids, is no exception. In this species, females nurse their offspring for approximately 1 year, meaning at any given time outside of the […]
Read More Just Relax and Breathe Normally
The Changing Tides project is investigating the ties between intertidal invertebrates, brown bears and people in Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks. We previously posted the links to the National Park Service YouTube videos (here and here) talking about the invertebrate research. Below is a link to a great video on how collars were put […]
Read More Bear Necessities
I’ve got my coffee, a delicious white chocolate biscotti from the cafe up the road, and all my emails from overnight have been checked. It is 7:30 am, technically a good half hour before my day starts, but I finally have a few moments to check through my bookmarked sites and see what my fellow […]
Read More Reading Recommendations
Building a Habitat Suitability Model Part 3. Back in August/September, I started a series of blogs about my work here at the ASLC on habitat modeling. Since it has been a while, when I sat down to write this next installment I figured I should start with a recap. You can read the original posts […]
Read More Demystifying Models
This nutshell is based on a recently published paper: Hoover-Miller and Armato. 2017. Harbor seal use of glacier ice and terrestrial haul-outs in the Kenai Fjords, Alaska. Mar Mamm Sci. Background: Where ice meets the sea Many people come to Alaska to see the impressive tidewater glaciers in the fjords of southeastern and southcentral Alaska. […]
Read More Between a rock and a cold place
Hard to believe that it has been a year since this blog started!! In the past 365 days, we have shared stories about what we can learn from scooping sea lion poop how we are teaching girl scouts about science research how smartphones can help prepare communities for climate change new papers unexpected company in […]
Read More Happy Anniversary to 60° North Science!
The “Changing Tides” project is being conducted by researchers with the Alaska SeaLife Center, National Park Service and US Geological Survey to examine the connections between bears, marine bivalves such as clams and mussels, and human-caused change along the coastlines of Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks. In November 2017, we posted a video about […]
Read More Changing Tides: Update
How do seals and science intersect at the Alaska SeaLife Center? Through scientific research training! As a mammalogist at ASLC, my responsibilities through our training program are to first train our resident marine mammals for husbandry and veterinary care to ensure their well-being, and second, to train the animals to cooperate in behaviors and activities […]
Read More Training for Science
It’s always good to start off the New Year with new experiences. This year marked the first time that I attended a scientific conference: the 2018 Alaska Marine Science Symposium. On top of it being my first time just simply attending a conference, it was also the first time I made and displayed a scientific […]
Read More AMSS 2018: Top tips
I have been attending AMSS for the past 6 years to learn about current research and present my latest research, but this year I had another exciting reason for going to the conference. I announced and promoted the COHO Lab, a new fee-for-service lab at ASLC that was developed by Dr. Hollmen and myself. The […]
Read More AMSS 2018 : New Directions
I thought it would be relevant to spotlight a cool data set and reference tool that I learned about today through a presentation at AMSS. It’s called the Ecological Atlas of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. This is a peer reviewed, publically available, map-oriented dataset that details observations on the presence of a variety […]
Read More AMSS 2018 : Spotlight
As an Informal Science Educator (ISE – yep that’s a real job) I come to these kinds of conferences with a bit of a different perspective. As a practitioner of the “soft” sciences (social and human dimensions) we don’t often have presentations here. Instead, we are looking to refresh relationships, build new connections, go to […]
Read More AMSS 2018: Education perspective
Sometimes, conferences don’t always go according to plan. Take, for instance, the temporary loss of a number of federal agency employees for the first day of the 2018 Alaska Marine Science Symposium. Due to government shutdown, many of our colleagues, including two keynote speakers, were unable to travel to the symposium. As of today, more […]
Read More AMSS 2018: All Shook Up
AMSS 2018 is happening this week in Anchorage, Alaska! This is Alaska’s ‘premiere marine research conference’ (as per organizers). From the conference website: “AMSS has been bringing together scientists, educators, resource managers, students, and interested public for over twenty years to discuss the latest marine research being conducted in Alaskan waters. Over 700 people attend […]
Read More Alaska Marine Science Symposium 2018
Alas, today’s post is about a sad event that happened recently, but is nonetheless important to share: Otto, the southern sea otter we had previously posted about, died on December 19th. His body was recovered floating in Morro Bay, California. As we previously reported, Otto was one of two southern sea otters recently taken to […]
Read More Sadly, Otto has died
Transcript The Alaska SeaLife Center is a public aquarium in Seward, Alaska, but that is not all we are. We are researchers, we are educators, we are wildlife rehabilitators. When you support the Alaska SeaLife Center you support Alaska’s Marine Ecosystems. If you are an Alaskan Resident and filing for your PFD online, click here […]
Read More Pick. Click. Give.
Let’s face it 2017 was a tough year for many – in particular, those of us who work in the field of science – but some amazing things also happened this year: There was the March for Science (we had a great turn out right here in Seward)! There were technology breakthroughs advancements in green […]
Read More A look back on 2017
On November 27th, we got to perform a necropsy on the carcass of a Pacific sleeper shark.
Read More Sleeper shark necropsy!
Started in 1901, the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest-running citizen science program in the United States! This video from the Audubon Society gives a short history of the program and an idea of how the counts work. In Seward, Alaska the count circle is 15 miles in diameter and covers […]
Read More Christmas Bird Count 2017
You’ve probably seen the Alaska SeaLife Center’s mission statement focused on generating and sharing scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. Why then do some of our scientists travel all over the planet, including extreme places such as Antarctica, in pursuit of scientific knowledge? Well, there are several good reasons: Paradoxically, […]
Read More 78° South Science!
The nights are getting longer, the snow is falling softly, and holiday music has been playing for at least a month already. That’s right, it is Scientific Proposal Season! Here at the ASLC, many of us in the Science Department have been hunched over our computers since Thanksgiving, typing away as deadlines for some marine […]
Read More Tis the Season
This week we want to highlight some great research being done by our collaborators. It has been just over a month since the Wildlife Response Team at the Alaska SeaLife Center responded to, and rescued a baby beluga who stranded in Cook Inlet. The young male, Tyonek, has been making steady progress on his way […]
Read More Listening for endangered Cook Inlet Belugas
5 reasons why Sleeper Sharks are cooler than the Great White Shark
Read More Sleeper Shark vs. Great White Shark
Updates on how Otto and Yankee Doodle, two sea otters rehabilitated at the MMC, are doing after their release, and how telemetry is helping us monitor their health.
Read More Otto and Yankee Doodle are doing well!
This last weekend, we were fortunate enough to attend Whalefest in Sitka, AK. Whalefest is more than just a scientific conference where researchers come to share their work. The weekend is filled with events to bring diverse groups of people of many ages and expertise together in the name of ocean science. Events like the […]
Read More Sitka Whalefest 2017
This new video on the “Changing Tides” project details some of the bivalve work being done in collaboration with the Alaska SeaLife Center and the US Geological Survey.
Read More Changing Tides
New Paper in a Nutshell: Best practice recommendations for the use of fully implanted telemetry devices in pinnipeds. Horning et al. 2017
Read More Best Practice Recommendations
We had another successful year of remote video monitoring of the Chiswell Island Steller sea lion rookery!
Read More Chiswell Project season wrap up – 2017
This nutshell is about based on a recently published paper about developing methods to detect pregnancy in Steller sea lions.
Read More Is she eating for two?
Audobon Alaska just published a new Alaska watchlist, ranking species that are vulnerable, at risk, or in severe decline. This list serves as a great reminder of the important work our ASLC team does to promote the conservation of the animals we work with.
Read More Audubon Watchlist Alaska
Some thoughts and stories as the conference wraps up!
Read More BLS6: Horizons
Attending conferences is vital to advancing science–Shea Steingass, a PhD student at OSU shares with us her experience at BLS6 and what it means to an early career researcher to have this opportunity.
Read More BLS6: Why do scientists attend conferences?
Did you know data generated by animal-borne oceanographic samplers or simply the tracks that instrumented marine animals take – are often publicly available?
Read More BLS6: Show me the data!
6th International Bio-Logging Symposium Nope, ASLC scientists have not gone into green forestry science. Rather, biologging in the broadest sense refers to animal biotelemetry, that is the use of data recording and transmitting telemetry devices on wild animals. BLS6 follows in the footsteps of very successful prior symposia in Tokyo, Japan, in St. Andrews, Scotland, […]
Read More BLS6: Greetings from Konstanz, Germany!
Our first spectacled eider ducklings hatched around Summer Solstice and we have been rocking ever since trying to understand the effect of salinity on duckling growth!
Read More Spectacled Eider Duckling Update
In order to find out what habitat features an animal prefers, we need to be able to measure and monitor the environment. How do we do that? With remote sensing, a picture really is worth a thousand data points!
Read More A picture is worth a thousand data points
A collaboration between the Alaska SeaLife Center, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Marine Mammal Center is enhancing the conservation of sea otters in the North Pacific Ocean!
Read More New milestones in southern sea otter conservation
ASLC researchers had some company while collecting samples on a beach in Lake Clark National Park!
Read More Unexpected Company
Kuliak, a male Steller sea lion pup was born on June 22, 2017! Learn about the ASLC breeding program and how this is helping us learn about the reproductive physiology of adult female Steller sea lions.
Read More Introducing Steller sea lion pup: KULIAK
Our Education Team has recently won the highest honor in Distance Learning education!
Read More Congratulations to the Education Team!
We have posted many blogs about our fieldwork, in-house, and collaborators’ research projects on 60N. But we haven’t talked much about the other big part of doing research: data and data analysis.
Read More Animals on the Move
This nutshell is based on a recently published paper: Decline of heterozygosity in a large but isolated population: a 45-year examination of moose genetic diversity on Isle Royale. Renae L. Sattler, Janna R. Willoughby and Bradley J. Swanson. PeerJ 2017 5:e3584. (https://peerj.com/articles/3584.pdf) Question: Should the loss of genetic diversity be a wildlife management concern for […]
Read More A 45-year examination of moose genetic diversity on Isle Royale
Check out this new video to learn about the type of information being learned about ice seals from our collaborators at the Long Marine Lab, University of California Santa Cruz, and how this knowledge will help us better understand their health and physiology.
Read More Training Arctic Seals to Save Ice-Dependent Species
The Pills If this sounds like a medical story, it is not. The pills in this case are stomach temperature pills. Stomach temperature pill (STPs) are telemetry devices we use to record or transmit the stomach temperature in an animal. But why would we want to know the temperature in an animal’s stomach? When the […]
Read More Pills and x-rays
Meet the 2017 Research Fellows: where they came from and what they are working on here at the ASLC!
Read More Introducing our Summer Research Fellows!
Here is some rare video footage of a sleeper shark collected near the Solomon Islands by researchers from the University of Rhode Island via remote video cameras in an expedition supported by the National Geographic Society.
Read More Rare new footage of the Pacific sleeper shark!
As the pups grow older, females are starting to come and go from the island as they start foraging. This week meet Robbie, just back from a trip to sea.
Read More Chiswell Chronicles: June 26,2017
Hot off the press, in this new feature, we will share key aspects new papers published by researchers at the ASLC in an informal narrative. This first paper shares the results of a study that sought to investigate any unexpected or potentially problematic response to surgeries or tagging for LHX tag implantation in harbor seals.
Read More LHX tag implantation in harbor seal pups
This week we talk about what the males on the colony are getting up to, and highlight two females: Dee and Anita.
Read More Chiswell Chronicles: June 19, 2017
Since 1998, scientists at the ASLC have been monitoring the behavior and population dynamics of Steller sea lions at a rookery in the Gulf of Alaska: Chiswell Island. Tune in each week to learn about how we use remote cameras to observe sea lion behavior and to monitor the number of pups born, and about specific wild sea lions the researchers know, and how to identify them!
Read More Chiswell Chronicles: June 12, 2017
Last week, we set out into Resurrection Bay on the ASLC research vessel Jubatus to test its new addition: an A-frame and winch system. The sturdy archway with hydraulic lift was outfitted to Jubatus to enable the deployment and retrieval of heavy moorings and equipment at sea, or in this case, some heavy rocks!
Read More Science “Rocks”!
You’ve probably heard stories about how scientists get ideas that might include ‘it came to me in a dream!’. This blog post shares a different kind of story–one about how scientists take an idea, design a scientific study, discover an answer, and excitingly, end up with more questions!
Read More How we get research ideas
The ASLC houses captive research flocks of both Steller’s and spectacled eiders, which are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Over the years, the captive birds have helped provide behavioral and physiological information that can be applied to wild birds and overall conservation goals for each species!
Read More An Eggcellent Time of Year!
Congratulations to Dr. Markus Horning and colleagues on recently finding out the North Pacific Research Board is planning on funding their Pacific sleeper shark study starting this fall!
Read More Coming to an ASLC near you in 2018!
The Horning Lab spent the day on Resurrection Bay simulating predation events in an effort to test the accuracy of the Life History Tag. A simulated predation event is not as scary as it sounds! Read my blog about how this data will ultimately provide more information about the role of predation on Steller sea lions in our study area.
Read More Cue the Jaws Theme Song Please
The Alaska SeaLife Center hosted Women in Science where Girl Scouts had the opportunity to meet female scientists and be scientists for a day.
Read More Women in Science: Where Girl Scouts and Scientists Meet
The ability of mussels to concentrate contaminants from the seawater makes them useful for monitoring coastal ecosystems for pollutants. Learn more about how we can evaluate the ways oil, dispersant, and dispersed oil affect different aspects of bay mussel health.
Read More Northern Exposures: Contaminants, Science and Toxicology
Learn about how Argos and Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) contribute to our economy, livelihoods, and science–and how these systems are in jeopardy.
Read More Tracking EPIRBs and Wildlife: Houston – we’ve got a problem here.
In the early 2000s, questions began to arise about whether the increasing number of visitors to Alaska were having negative impacts on seals. Were seals being disturbed by large cruise ships or smaller tour vessels visiting glaciers?
Read More Seals, ships, and local conservation efforts
If you have visited the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in the past few years, you may have seen young Steller sea lion pups swimming and playing from our underwater viewing area. We are working with these animals to construct a morphometric age determination model for sea lions 1 – 48 months old.
Read More Growing Up Fast
Our research in the Arctic village of Wainwright, Alaska shows that although it faces a suite of challenges due to climate change, this Iñupiat community has a lot of tricks up its sleeve to keep the subsistence lifestyle alive. By harnessing the power of social media, decision analysis, and traditional knowledge, people in Wainwright use a diverse array of strategies that help them adapt to rapid environmental changes in the Arctic.
Read More Sea ice and smartphones
This week we want to highlight a really cool science program that you can take part in! Launched by NOAA, Steller Watch is an opportunity to contribute to efforts to better understand Steller sea lion declines in the Western Aleutians.
Read More Crowdsourcing sea lion science
Male spotted seals like Amak and Tunu may vocalize to attract mates or to establish dominance. Up until now, little has been known about the vocal behavior of this species…but these two seals are helping us—yet again—to learn more.
Read More Eavesdropping on spotted seals
Ocean drifters, gliders, and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV’s) are a few examples of ALPS used for ocean science.
Read More Robots in the ocean
On a crisp winter day in February, we set out on a small boat for a couple of Steller sea lion haulouts just 18 miles south of the Alaska SeaLife Center. Our mission: to collect scat.
Read More Messy Business: Steller sea lion scat collections
The ASLC science team has been conducting bird surveys in Resurrection Bay since 2011! Hear about some of the species that can be sighted around Seward, and a recent rare winter sighting!
Read More Counting Marine Birds in Resurrection Bay
Read about Casey Brown’s transition from studying moose in Fairbanks to Steller sea lions in Seward.
Read More A Moose Biologist’s Journey to the Sea
Last week more than a dozen ASLC staff attended the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage!
Read More ASLC at AMSS