Science Spotlight

Why It's Important:

The endangered western stock of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) – the largest of the eared seals – has declined by 80% from population levels encountered four decades ago. Current trends from the Gulf of Alaska to the Aleutian Islands appear to have leveled overall, but vary widely by location. Management practices, including highly contentious fisheries-restricted zones, are largely based on a mathematical model that included a combination of reduced juvenile survival and pup production, possibly due to competition with fisheries and nutritional stress. However, until recently, direct data on the timing and causes of death were impossible to obtain.

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