USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Why "Walrus"?

About Us

Photograph of a walrus.“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax -
Of cabbages - and kings -
And why the sea is boiling hot -
And whether pigs have wings.”

--Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-glass”

First... a Short Video:

Tracking Pacific Walrus:
Expedition to the Shrinking Chukchi Sea Ice

Screen shot of the video on the walrus haul-out of 2011. Click to go to video page.

Summer ice retreat in the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Russia is a significant climate change impact affecting Pacific Walruses, which are being considered for listing as a threatened species. This twelve minute video follows walruses in their summer sea ice habitat and shows how USGS biologists use satellite radio tags to track their movements and behavior. The information identifies areas of special importance to walruses during sparse summer sea ice and as human presence increases in the region from oil drilling and activities such as shipping and tourism now possible with less ice.

So, why is this web site named “”?

Why can't I find any information on Walrus (the sea mammal) here?

A little history:

In the early 1990's, the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) experimented with several new Internet services, including FTP, Gopher, Z39.50, and the Web.

The US Geological Survey at that time had almost no responsibility for biological research. PCMSC worked on ocean-related earth science issues only.

We named our servers after sea creatures, like dolphin, octopus, squid, ... and walrus. became our Web server. We didn't know then how important Web server names might become.

The Web became more important, many other sites linked to information on, and we chose to keep this unusual name instead of breaking lots of links.

In the mid 1990's the National Biological Survey merged with USGS. Some of those biologists do research on Walrus (the sea mammal).

So now we have a bunch of mostly geology information on a web site named after a sea mammal, in an organization that does research on sea mammals elsewhere.



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Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 24 September 2014 (lzt)