World Seabird Day 2024

As you might’ve guessed – we like our seabirds here. Check out all the ways we celebrate seabirds at the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels: Student YouTube Videos We bring to you a new video: Taken from the Skies, by Samanth-Lynn Martinez. This video does not mince words about the damage we are doing to our seabird populations. Share this call to action with your friends: Putting side the many videos of penguins we have on our channel, we also have: 🦅 From gannets to shearwaters, earn about the seabirds in New Zealand and the Galápagos Islands! Student: Timothy Kenney Quarter: […]

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Spatial match-mismatch between predators and prey under climate change

Authors: Gemma Carroll, Briana Abrahms, Stephanie Brodie & Megan A. CiminoJournal: Nature Ecology and EvolutionDOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-024-02454-0 “Climate change is driving a rapid redistribution of life on Earth. Variability in the rates, magnitudes and directions of species’ shifts can alter spatial overlap between predators and prey, with the potential to decouple trophic interactions. Although phenological mismatches between predator requirements and prey availability under climate change are well-established, ‘spatial match–mismatch’ dynamics remain poorly understood.”…

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World Ocean Day 2024

Don’t know how to celebrate World Ocean Day this year? We have a few ideas: This year’s World Ocean Day theme this year is “One Ocean. One Climate. One Future.” One of Dee’s BIOL 305 students, Giovanna Esquivel, created this powerful PSA reminding us how our actions impact our world. Whether you’ve never been to the ocean or you go every day, what we use on land like plastics and fertilizer that we use end up in the ocean. Many of our Video Storytelling students found inspiration in the ocean. Here are a few student-shot snorkeling videos that they created

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WRF Symposium

Dr. Kasim Rafiq recently presented his work on using animal-worn sensors to understand the impacts of environmental change on African wild dogs and lions at the Washington Research Foundation Symposium, who fund his position at the university. As part of this work, over the past two years, Kasim, Leigh West, and Dr. Briana Abrahms developed and deployed fitness trackers for African carnivores and are currently working with computer scientists to build machine learning algorithms to identify behaviours and hunger from the data collected. Photo credit: Dylan Randolph Photography, WRF symposium 2024

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Field updates: Argentina, April 2024

Thanks to the generous support of Zoo Augsburg in Germany, Dr. Eric Wagner and Katie Holt were able to return to Punta Tombo for a couple of weeks in April. There, they put twenty satellite tags on penguins—ten females and ten males—that were about to start their post-breeding migration. As of today 18 satellite tags are still transmitting to our live tracking map on our website.  This is the third year we have tracked penguins during migration, and already we have learned vital information about sex-specific patterns and behaviors. Females, for example, tend to stay closer to the coast than

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Welcome Marie-Pier and Meredith!

The Abrahms Lab is growing! This fall we will have two new grad students join us in the Center: Meredith HonigPenguin Camp Meredith is interested in how species interactions shape ecological communities and wildlife population dynamics, especially in the implications of global climate change on these processes. She received a BS in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis in 2020. Meredith’s previous research experiences have encompassed a wide variety of topics including shark social behavior, hummingbird disease ecology, and large carnivore conservation and management. Before coming to the University of Washington, she also conducted research on

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The value of field research in academia

Authors: Kasim Rafiq, Neil R. Jordan, J. Weldon McNutt, John Neelo, Nina Attias, Dee Boersma, Meredith S. Palmer, Jennifer Ruesink, and Briana AbrahmsJournal: ScienceDOI: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ado6937 “By refining the academic system to recognize and support different forms of scientific inquiry equally, we can build the diverse research community necessary to empower discovery across disciplines.”

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Testing Technology with the Woodland Park Zoo

Since 2015, we have deployed automatic weighbridges to track the foraging success of Magellanic penguins at one of their largest breeding colonies – Punta Tombo, Argentina. These weighbridges weigh penguins noninvasively as they leave the nesting area to forage and when they return to feed their chicks. This helps us track whether these penguins are finding enough food for themselves and their chicks. With new fishing effort data made available with satellite technology, we are excited to start working on how fishing and ocean conditions affect penguin foraging.  After all of these years in the harsh Patagonian environment (high winds,

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Field Updates: Tombo Jan-Feb 2024

We continued our Punta Tombo field season this winter with graduate student Erik Johansson, former undergrad lab member Chloe Rabinowitz, and program coordinator Kalyna Durbak staying on site from January 12 through February 21. Our goal for this trip was to attach GTA* and GPS tags on adult penguins who were actively feeding chicks in order to log their foraging trips. Since the tags did not actively transmit data, they had to be retrieved after about two weeks of use. The tags were deployed 41 times throughout the field work trip; 31 GTA deployments and 10 GPS deployments. Center researchers

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A fearful scourge to the penguin colonies: Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) predation on living Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) may be more common than assumed

Authors: Dr. Ginger Rebstock and Dr. P Dee BoersmaJournal: Marine Ecology Press SeriesDOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14476 Excerpt from abstract: Southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus) are important consumers that range across the oceans throughout the southern hemisphere […] Here we describe a predation attempt by a trio of southern giant petrels on a molting adult Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) at the large colony at Punta Tombo, Argentina […] We suggest that living penguins—both fledglings and adults—may constitute a more seasonally significant proportion of the giant petrel diet than previously assumed, and their capture may represent a specialized predation technique.

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