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Forage Fish of the Salish Sea and Sea Birds With Dr. Tessa Francis

Across the world’s oceans and seas, small, silvery, schooling fish – known collectively as forage fish – are critically important as prey for birds, fish, and mammals and commercial catch. Pacific herring in particular are foundational species in many marine and estuarine ecosystems. Pacific herring play a critical role in the social-ecological system along the West Coast of North America, owing to their ecological, economic, and spiritual/cultural importance. In Puget Sound, forage fish support some of the most culturally and economically important species in the region: salmon, orcas and seabirds. This talk will delve deeper into the importance of forage fish for the Puget Sound food web and for the region as a whole. Drawing on her years of fieldwork, research and years of tracking herring spawning along with stories and pictures, Tessa will address the causes of decline in Puget Sound herring. Come learn the importance of shoreline habitat for sustaining this vital marine resource and our amazing sea bird populations.

Dr. Tessa Francis, a Vashon resident for many years, is Lead Ecosystem Ecologist for the Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington Tacoma, and the Managing Director of the Ocean Modeling Forum. Dr. Francis is an aquatic ecologist, and conducts research related to aquatic species and food web dynamics. Tessa is presently involved in projects related to ecosystem-based management of forage fish in Puget Sound and the West Coast of North America, including Pacific herring and Pacific sardine. Tessa serves as an editor for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and is on the Science Advisory Councils of the Northwest Straits Commission and the Vashon Nature Center. Tessa holds a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley, a BS in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington, and a PhD in Zoology and Urban Ecology from the University of Washington.

Thursday, May 11 at 7 PM
Land Trust Building
Free and Open to the Public