Say you’re wondering what a nutria looks like, and you don’t trust the random photos that pop up on Flickr. Enter the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound (eopugetsound.org), the scientist-approved online resource from the University of Washington’s Puget Sound Institute, and its searchable species library. This extensive database includes photos and facts on the denizens of the Puget Sound and greater Salish Sea watersheds, whether native or invasive. (Hint: Nutrias, or Myocastor coypus, are highly invasive; in fact, the orange-toothed rodent is the only invasive mammal on the site.)
Once in the library, you can learn much more about this furry invader—including its taxonomy, diet and migration habits—and view pictures. Launched this summer, the site also includes maps and peer-reviewed articles on a multitude of topics. It’s shaping up to be a trusted and invaluable tool for local scientists in their struggle to preserve the Puget Sound ecosystem. To feel even closer to the critters, try the encyclopedia’s downloadable (and free!) ringtones, featuring calls of the threatened Western gray squirrel, the rhinoceros auklet and yes, that pesky nutria.
Now you can take the sounds of the Sound with you wherever you go.