Heide Island's River Otter Research Draws Attention in Puget Sound area
The Everett (Wash.,) Herald devoted some ink and pixels to the river otter research conducted by Pacific University psychology professor and animal behaviorist Heide Island, Ph.D. The coverage describes in detail the nature of her work and the broad curiosity about it by local residents.
An excerpt from the story:
"Last week, on her last day of data collection, Island stalked the perimeter of an otter latrine in her XTRATUF boots. She crouched down, long blonde hair swinging under a bucket hat, to examine a recent specimen.
“This is really the important stuff for talking about habitat ecology,” she said while scooping a thick, light-brown jelly into a vial.
The substance is digestive mucus, and it’s pretty gross. But this is what Island can send to a lab to test for pollutants in the otter’s system.
In a good week, Island would gather 15 to 20 samples of scat and about two of the digestive mucus."
Island's research is part of a five-year study that will involve Pacific students next summer.
Pacific University is the leading research institution among private colleges in the Pacific Northwest.