It’s all about the Sanctuary…



I may have been slacking on a new post but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been checking up on our tagged sea lions any less than normal. It’s kinda a fun ritual to come in to the office in the morning (I have no internet at my house) and see where everyone is…and then again when I need a work break….You get the point – my behavior would be concerning if these sea lions were people, but since they’re not it is science and not stalking!


It has been really cool tagging animals locally – sometimes I think I might see one of them swimming along west cliff while I am on a run. That hasn’t happened…yet..but in the last week or so we started to see a lot of fishing boats just north of Santa Cruz – I think anchovy and then some squid boats at night. We already had two animals foraging in the area, and then another showed up, and then another! At one point all four juveniles couldn’t have been more than a km or so from each other, foraging in the same patch. Given that over 60% of our tagged individuals are there (and we only tagged 6 animals out of a colony of thousands), you can imagine the number of sea lions that must be in the area.


Since then the orange dot animal has headed up to the Farallones and has joined another animal that has been foraging up off Half Moon Bay since we tagged him. 

Sea lions in Santa Cruz
Sea lion locations on NMS
Fort Bragg animal

 Our last animal is still hanging out in the Fort Bragg area. He has great GPS data so you can even see his core foraging and resting areas even without any fancy statistical techniques (where there are high concentrations of dots)

As I was looking at the data today (it is my weekly data download day) – I thought it would be cool to overlay the points on the National Marine Sanctuaries in our area just to show how much the sea lions are using these areas. You can imagine how many dots this would be if we could represent all the sea lions out there right now!


 Ok – so I have been slacking a bit in my ‘weekly’ blog posts. We finished up all of our field work last Thursday and since then I have been trying to make up for lost work time. Our last day was pretty mellow. I spent a lot of the day cleaning our gear, which really consisted of 40% work and 60% time devoted to watching little sea lion puppies run around on the beach. They are so inquisitive and really are like little dogs – playing with kelp, eating things they probably shouldn’t off the beach, and chasing the seagulls. These guys were born in June, so they are only about four to five months right now – what else are you going to do while your mom is at sea foraging??


This was my favorite photo of the day – not taken by me of course. These females all look like they are ready to head out to sea!

Photo: Patrick Robinson

Photos: Patrick Robinson 

 Because our field work has come to an end, I will likely not be posting as much. I will provide some updates here and there on how these little buggers are doing! Feel free to email me with questions






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