Sea lion necropsy at Weir’s Beach


After learning from Ivonne yesterday that there was a dead sea lion at Weir’s Beach and after getting permission from DFO, first and second year Biology students participated in a necropsy of a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) this morning.


Above is how we found it initially yesterday (31 January 2017) – apparently the sea lion washed up on Weir’s Beach, headless, on 20 January.

We began the necropsy by opening up the abdominal cavity.

We excised the liver, stomach and small intestine.

Several students worked on stretching out the small intestine then they measured it to be 51.7 m long!

We then moved into the thoracic cavity, after cutting through the blubber and thick, dark red pectoral muscles.

The heart, right lung and and trachea were removed and examined by students.

We were blasted by sand and a bitterly cold wind throughout, but students remained engaged & interested. An amazing opportunity!

The photo below is my favourite – Emily is holding the mesentery in the wind.

mesentarySee Flickr page for many more photos.

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3 Responses to “Sea lion necropsy at Weir’s Beach”

  1. Steph Says:

    any idea why it would have been headless? this is super cool!

  2. Steph Says:

    yup! Syver and I didn’t have to work too hard to convince you! That’s unfortunate that it looks anthropogenic…
    p.s. your marine science class was mentioned in lecture the other day, as my prof explained to us that his son who took marine science at PC corrected him and told him he never actually saw sea otters in BC, just large river otters.. you’re famous!

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