Shellfish Research and Information
Services for the U.S. West Coast

Our Work

Where We Work


Student Opportunity Photo

Internships with PSI

Intern or volunteer on one of PSI's research projects or outreach campaigns.


Featured Photo

The man with a plan

PSI researcher, Andy Suhrbier helps shellfish growers adapt to changing ocean conditions.


Become a Citizen Scientist - Join biologists to survey, sort and identify critters living at the beach!

Beach Surveys 10am - noon, WET Science Center All Day

What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is an opportunity for community members to partner with experts to identify and count as many species as possible in a specific area, while learning how to conserve and protect these animals. This BioBlitz focuses on invertebrates (like sea stars, shellfish, worms, etc.) living in various habitats.

scallop fouling

Invertebrates considered "fouling" organisms grow on this native purple-hinged rock scallop, Crassadoma gigantea. Can you spot the sea star? Structures submerged in marine waters, such as an old dock, log, or boat hull will quickly acquire a community of diverse, colorful organisms and algae as you see here. These communities are integral for water filtration, refuge and grazing for many fish and crab species.

How can I participate?

Sign up for a 10 am – 12 pm beach survey to help biologists collect, sort, identify, and take pictures of animals. Be prepared to get muddy! And/or visit the WET Center to see live animals, look under the microscope, and work with taxonomists to ID organisms.

Beach Survey Locations:



SIGN UP HERE to join the survey team at Frye Cove County Park! Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to walk from the parking lot down to the beach. Survey begins at 10 am, prepare to get muddy! There are restrooms and a rinse station available at this location.



SIGN UP HERE to join the survey team at Priest Point Park! Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to walk from the parking area down to the beach. Survey begins at 10 am, be prepared to get muddy! There are restrooms available at this location.



SIGN UP HERE to join the survey team at Woodard Bay Conservation Area. Please arrive at the parking area at 9:30am, a Discover Pass is required. Parking is limited, so please consider carpooling. It is a 20 min. walk on a gravel path to the beach, survey begins at 10am. Be prepared to get muddy! There is a pit toilet, but no rinse station at this beach. A change of clothes/shoes is recommended.



SIGN UP HERE to join the survey team at Tolmie State Park from 10am - 12pm. A Discover Pass is required to park at this location. Parking here is limited, so please consider carpooling. Be prepared to get muddy! There are restrooms and a rinse station available at this location.

What should I bring?

  • Water bottle
  • Hat/Sunscreen
  • Rubber boots or old sneakers
  • A snack
  • Camera or smartphone
  • Pack a lunch (optional) - surveys end at noon, stay and enjoy the beach!
  • Please leave pets at home - thank you!

Why study invertebrates?

Invertebrates are the base of the food web, being prey for most species that inhabit and rely on Puget Sound. Invertebrates play a pivotal role in broad ecosystem processes and functions. They reside across environmental gradients, with some species and assemblages being more sensitive to particular disturbances.


A large fried egg jelly fish floating in Boston Harbor marina in July.

For these reasons, invertebrates often serve as bio-indicators of habitat condition and change at higher trophic levels. Long-term monitoring of estuarine invertebrates is an integral part of many local, state and regional water quality programs.

South Sound is home to a vibrant intersection of human activity and important nearshore habitats. It provides a model system for sampling across a developmental gradient, allowing comparisons between areas of low and high disturbance. The South Puget Sound region is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation. Impacts from increasing development and a rapidly changing climate, puts the health of South Sound’s unique habitats at risk.


Puget Sound Beach Ecology

Benthic Invertebrates

Shellfish ID

Crab Guide

Zooplankton ID

Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

Kozloff, E. N. 1996. Marine Invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. 552 Pp

Nature Mapping for Beaches


The following protocols have been made publicly available by the Shoreline Monitoring Toolbox and will be followed, with some modification during the bioblitz:

Upper Beach - Wrack Inverts

Surface Dwellers - Epifauna

Benthic Invertebrates - Infauna

settlement panels

Small weighted arrays of settlement panels were deployed at 7 floating docks around South Sound to capture invertebrates growing during the summer months, May- August. Panels will be pulled in on the day of the bioblitz, photographed and examined at LOTT. Come take a look!


LOTT - WET Science Center

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

WA Dept. of Ecology - Benthic Lab


Squaxin Island Tribe

Keta Legacy Foundation


Katie Houle, Biologist


Giant flatworm found grazing on rock scallops growing in Totten Inlet.