‘Food Webs Can Be Fishy’ at Port Angeles’ Science Saturday

‘Food Webs Can Be Fishy’ at Port Angeles’ Science Saturday

PORT ANGELES — Forage fish and the seabirds who feed on them will be the focus of a free family event in Port Angeles on Saturday.

The Clallam County Marine Resources Committee will host “Science Saturday: Food Webs Can Be Fishy” at 2 p.m. at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St.

There will be activities for children.

Regional experts

A pair of regional experts will speak about the importance of forage fish and seabirds feeding on forage fish during the two-hour event, according to a Marine Resources Committee news release.

There will be hands-on demonstrations of forage fish spawning surveys and a laboratory eggs analysis for the adult audience between and after the presentations.

Ed Bowlby, chair of the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee, will facilitate the event.

Phillip Dionne of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will deliver a talk called “Why Are Forage Fish Important?”

Forage fish are small schooling fishes such as herring, surf smelt and sand lance that feed on plankton.

Forage fish occupy an important place in marine food webs because they are eaten by larger fish, marine mammals, seabirds and other larger predators, Clallam MRC officials said.

Dionne’s current research focuses on the distribution and characteristics of forage fish spawning habitat, new methods of detecting forage fish spawn and the effects of shoreline modification on nearshore habitat.

Bob Boekelheide of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society will present “Seabirds, Forage Fish and Food Webs: Some Examples from the Salish Sea.”

As director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center from 2001 to 2011, Boekelheide developed programs and classes for children and adults about the natural history of the North Olympic Peninsula.

He is also the coordinator of bird counts on the Peninsula and bird-sightings editor for the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society.

Bowlby will round out the talks by discussing the Clallam MRC’s current work with pigeon guillemot and inform the audience about volunteer opportunities, including participation in monthly forage fish spawning surveys.

The Clallam County Marine Resources Committee is made up of local citizens representing commercial and sport fishing industries, conservation and environmental interests, tribes, cities, academia and other local governments.

It works to promote local solutions to the degradation of natural resources in Clallam County.

Its public meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at the county courthouse.

For information on the Clallam MRC, click on www.clallamcountymrc.org.

_________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

‘Food Webs Can Be Fishy’ at Port Angeles’ Science Saturday

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