How a new audio technology may ward off preying seals in Whatcom Creek
Podcast by Max Owens
Salmon populations are in trouble, and hungry seals aren’t helping — but Kathleen McKeegan wants to know if an underwater boombox might be the solution. McKeegan, a researcher and graduate student in the Biology Department at Western Washington University, is testing whether Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) may limit seal predation.
Along with researchers from the conservation nonprofit Oceans Initiative, she deployed the device, which works by emitting sounds that startle seals, at the mouth of Whatcom Creek. And while she’s still analyzing the results, the initial findings are promising.
Max Owens is a graduate student in Creative Writing at Western Washington University. He has written for publications like “Cascadia Daily News,” “Climbing” and “The Gulch.” This is his first podcast for “The Planet.”
As the Pinto Abalone population declines, graduate students, like Lizzie Diehl, are researching ways to increase their numbers so the species is not lost for future generations.
Podcast by Catalina Lane
Catalina Lane is a senior at Western Washington University completing a double major in Environmental Education and Studio Art. She loves enjoying the outdoors, creating art and playing with her stubborn cat, Tiko.