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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

July 25, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Mapping the underwater wonderland of the Salish Sea

The SeaDoc Society has for the past ten years been teaming up with geologist Gary Greene to map the underwater worlds of the Salish Sea. The results are spectacular.

<span class="mt-encloSeaDoc Societysure mt-enclosure-image” style=”display: inline;”>sandlance-naylor-710-443.jpg

Sand lance emerge from the gravel

Photo courtesy the Sea Doc Society

The maps reveal the variety of habitat beneath the water’s surface. Kelp forests and eel grass meadows … those are familiar enough. But how about huge “sand waves” that shelter schools of sand lance, and provide foraging grounds for birds such as tufted puffins and rhinoceros auklets. And topography, such as glacial moraines and rock piles heaped up by earthquakes. vertical rock walls cut by the glaciers and mud-filled bays that each support suites of life?

Have a look online at the Society’s maps, videos, and photos of life beneath the surface.

The many habitats of the Salish Sea floor are more varied than you might have imagined.

The goal of the seafloor mapping lab is to address conservation needs by pinpointing the Salish Sea’s many habitats. Whatever the goal, the society likes to say, you can’t get there without a map.

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