Field Notes: a Northwest nature blog
One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.
Selected Northwest animal webcams
Mapping the underwater wonderland of the Salish Sea
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?
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.