Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long Goodbye To Steller Sea Lions: Creatures Are Disappearing

Date:
May 24, 2001
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
The Steller sea lion, the largest of all sea lions, has suffered declining numbers that threaten its existence. In some parts of the world, its numbers are now only 15 percent of what they were in 1970, which is why it has been placed on the endangered species list.

GALVESTON - It's an act that would rival the best work of Siegfried and Roy: How are 2,000-pound Steller sea lions disappearing so quickly?

Related Articles


The Steller sea lion, the largest of all sea lions, has suffered declining numbers that threaten its existence. In some parts of the world, its numbers are now only 15 percent of what they were in 1970, which is why it has been placed on the endangered species list.

Texas A&M University at Galveston researchers Markus Horning and Jo-Ann Mellish are on a quest to find out why the animal's future is in doubt, and with the help of an $800,000 National Science Foundation grant and a $1 million National Marine Fisheries Service grant, they may be able to unravel at least some of the riddle.

Horning will use satellite-linked, close-range imaging to monitor the lumbering creatures, whose numbers are quickly dwindling, especially around the Gulf of Alaska and near the Aleutian Islands, ground zero for many Stellers.

Horning will place several digital cameras with transmitters near Steller breeding grounds. He hopes to get an accurate census count of just how many Stellers are out there, and with help of the images, calculate the body size of those photographed.

"The body size will tell us the approximate age of the animal, which in turn can tell us several things," Horning explains. "The body size can tell us if the Steller is getting an adequate food supply. If no young Stellers appear to be growing much larger, that might indicate some sort of nutritional stress, such as not enough food supply to begin with. "Also, the percent of fat stored in the animal can tell us about its eating habits and its food supply."

A possible cause of less-than-ideal food supply: overfishing in the area.

Researchers have for years believed that commercial fishermen in the area have netted huge supplies of pollock and mackerel, the Stellers' primary food source. Fewer fish ultimately could lead to fewer Stellers, a cycle that may have gotten out of sync for the last 30 years.

"If there is nutritional stress, is it because of overfishing? That's one big question we hope to answer," Horning adds. There are two kinds of Stellers - the Eastern stock and the Western stock, so named because they inhabit those areas of the Gulf of Alaska. The Eastern stock population has remained stable, Horning says.

But the Western stock has diminished greatly - from 170,000 in 1970 to only about 25,000 today. Its decline parallels those of other endangered animals in the area, such as the sea otter, harbor seal and Orca whale.

"The Gulf of Alaska and Behring Sea are two of the most important ecosystems in the world," Horning adds. "We hope to find some answers. The decline in Steller sea lions and other species could be potentially devastating to the area."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Long Goodbye To Steller Sea Lions: Creatures Are Disappearing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010524062648.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2001, May 24). Long Goodbye To Steller Sea Lions: Creatures Are Disappearing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010524062648.htm
Texas A&M University. "Long Goodbye To Steller Sea Lions: Creatures Are Disappearing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010524062648.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins