Harbor Seals in Whatcom Creek

Forest creek fading to close up of seal

Thursday, November 4, 2021
4:30 p.m. PT




Check out this video to watch the Huxley Speaker Series - Harbor Seals in Whatcom Creek.

Huxley Speaker Series

Brought to you by Huxley College of the Environment and College of Science and Engineering in partnership with the WWU Alumni Association

Since 2011, undergraduate and graduate students from Western Washington University’s Marine Mammal Ecology Lab have systematically collected data on harbor seal occurrence and behavior at Whatcom Creek in downtown Bellingham, WA. 

In this talk, Alejandro will summarize the knowledge they have gained through the collective effort of these students. Harbor seals visit the site throughout the year; however, most seals appear from October through December, with a peak in November, to prey on returning salmonids. During 2014-2019, 170 individual harbor seals were identified. Of these individuals, 96 (56.5%) were observed during more than one year, with one individual being observed at the creek during all six years. A total of 66 (38.8%) individual seals successfully captured a salmonid at least once and the rate of foraging success varied greatly with a mean value of 13.9 ± SD 24.0% successful salmonid captures per attempt. Foraging success was best explained by individual identity than by number of visits to the creek. Such intraspecific variability indicates that not all predators are equal and that some individuals are more successful hunters than others.

More information about the speaker series is available here.

We are excited that we will be live-streaming from a WWU classroom for the webinar for our off-campus audience. Due to the pandemic, only WWU students will be in-person for the presentation but we look forward to welcoming you all to class virtually. 

Alejandro Acevedo-Gutierrez

Alejandro Acevedo-Gutierrez


Alejandro Acevedo-Gutierrez was born and raised in Mexico City and was a first-generation college student. He attended Texas A&M and was a post-doctoral researcher at the UC, Santa Cruz, studying dolphins and whales. At WWU he is a professor in biology and science education. His research interests include marine mammals in their environment and their interactions with humans. He studies harbor seals and sea lions and is part of WWU's Marine Mammal Ecology Lab

Questions and Accommodations

Stefan Freelan

Stefan Freelan is the coordinator of the Huxley Speaker Series. Send email to  stefan@wwu.edu or call (360) 650-2949 if you have any questions or comments.
There will be auto-captions available for this event. To request closed captions, please mark the request on the registration form. Advance notice of three days to one week is appreciated.