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Research Projects

PacMam is one of only a handful of groups worldwide studying wild harbor porpoises! Using innovative, non-invasive techniques, we're committed to learning more about their populations to better conserve and protect this indicator species. Explore all of PacMam's  research programs below.

PacMam researchers taking photos in the field


Harbor Porpoise Photo-ID & Behavioral Monitoring

Harbor porpoises are year-round residents of the Salish Sea, and are known as an indicator species of environmental health. Very little is known about harbor porpoise populations in the wild, and PacMam intends to change that with our long-term photo-identification & monitoring program!


Harbor Seal Photo-ID

Another year-round resident of the Salish Sea, limited research on individual harbor seal identification has been done locally. Our efforts to identify individual harbor seals in the water will help us learn more about their movement patterns, local habitat use, and site fidelity to specific areas.

Harbor seal in kelp
Woman throwing hydrophone into the water


Passive Acoustic Monitoring

To learn more about the soundscape these animals live in, PacMam is using an underwater ‘microphone’ to learn more about the habitat these animals choose to use on a regular basis, and may even let us record their vocalizations.


Environmental DNA (eDNA)

Our newest project focuses on the revolutionary technique of collecting DNA material from an animal’s environment. To collect this environmental, or "eDNA", we use seawater containing harbor porpoise skin cells!

Researcher collecting environmental DNA samples
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