Saturday, May 3, 2008

Week 5: Marine Naturalist Training

California Sea Lions

Today we completed our last Marine Naturalist Training day for the season. Starting off at the high school Amy Traxler gave an overview on Pinnipeds and how to tell the difference between sea lions and seals. I’m usually doing pretty good if I can tell a sea lion or a seal from a hunk of wood but I managed to identify my friend at South Beach as a California Sea Lion from the color and head shape something like a very big Chocolate Lab.

Tibetan Ancestors of Salish Woolly Dogs

Russel Barsh talked about pre-European agriculture in the Islands including Camas growing and processing and the development of reef net fishing. He touched on a favorite subject of mine, the Salish Woolly dogs. Last I knew they were thought to be extinct. According to genetic testing on Salish wool it turns out the Salish Woolly dogs are direct descendants of Tibetan Terriers and genetic cousins to Japanese Shiba Inu dogs and Alaskan Eskimo dogs.

Val Viers and Marine Naturalists in Training at the Lighthouse

After lunch we trekked out to the lighthouse at Lime Kiln Park where Val Viers played us samples of Orca Acoustics and Jeanne Hyde talked about Southern Resident Orca family groups. In the lighthouse we could hear the sounds of boat traffic through underwater microphones. It was like hearing a chainsaw every time a boat went by. At least with our opposable thumbs and a volume knob we could turn it down. Jeanne showed us family photos of our local Orca pods. We hope we might see them tomorrow when we go out on the boat to celebrate the completion of this Spring's Marine Naturalist Training for 2008.

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