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

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Where We Work
Outreach & Education


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.

What's Blooming in Budd?

Track Budd Inlet water quality and plankton communities at these City of Olympia Stream Team sponsored events.

Citizen Science Phytoplankton Monitoring

Join Stream Team and PSI biologists at the Port Plaza dock this summer to get up-close-and-personal with some of the smallest organisms in the sea –phytoplankton. Drop a net into the rich waters of Puget Sound to collect a jar of nutritious plankton soup. Prepare to be amazed as a drop of water comes to life under the microscope. Grab a clipboard and record water temperatures, salinity, water clarity and weather conditions. See how many other creatures you can find living among the pilings – barnacles, jellies, sticklebacks, mussels, and more!

Port Plaza Dock
Thursdays, June 22-Sept 21

LOTT’s WET Science Center
Thursdays, June 22-Sept 21

For the complete taxonomic experience, journey over to LOTT’s WET Science Center to see live plankton projected onto the Big Screen. Learn why biologists monitor plankton and then help create a complete species list. Keep your eyes peeled for three species capable of producing powerful biotoxins. Data will be shared with other monitoring programs including NOAA’s SoundToxins, Washington Dept. of Ecology’s Eyes Over Puget Sound, and Washington Department of Health’s Biotoxin Program.

Thank you to the volunteers that visited the dock today to collect water quality and plankton data. We even welcomed groups from Oklahoma, Reno and China! While the plankton was amazing, the out-of-town guests were more "wowed" by the barnacles. Their enthusiasm made me realize how interesting even our most common invertebrate species are.

The plankton composition was dominated by a thick bloom of Ceratium fusus. Dinophysis, one of our monitored harmful algal bloom species, was fairly common and overall diversity was surprisingly high - if you take the time to search through the thick tangle of Ceratium. While only in small numbers, we observed polychaete larvae, ciliates, rotifers, larvaceans and a fish larvae. Lots of comb jellies, sticklebacks and other small fish made peering over the side of the dock quite entertaining.

Noctiluca, a bioluminescing species, was present, but not in great numbers. Still, for all of you waiting for a nighttime paddle or swim in the bioluminescence, you may be in for a lovely show. Please e-mail us at to report evening bioluminescence conditions. I'll have my kayak ready!

Thank you to all of the inquisitive, enthusiastic citizen scientists that helped today. We look forward to next week's sampling. Every week is different. We never know what we'll find!


More Information

Contact PSI's Aimee Christy or Mary Middleton (360-754-2741) or

Michelle Stevie at the City of Olympia Stream Team (360-753-8336)

Stream Team Logo


Learn More: Monitoring programs and plankton identification

Northwest Fisheries Science Center

NOAA/NWFSC SoundToxins

WA Dept. of Ecology Marine Water Quality Monitoring – Eyes Over Puget Sound

King County Puget Sound Marine Life Photos

NASA Earth Observatory

Univ. of British Columbia - Phyto'pedia

Dr. Rita A. Horner. A Taxonomic Guide to Some Common Marine Phytoplankton. Book contains photographs and descriptions of 134 local species.

Budd Inlet Snapshot --
What's Blooming Now?

Location: Budd Inlet Port Plaza
Dock Date:
July 20, 2017
Vertical Net Tow Depth: 3 meters
Dominant Species:
Ceratium fusus
Common Species:
# of Species Observed: 32
Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) species: Dinophysis
# of HABs per drop:
Dinophysis: 43 cells, 256 cells/L.

See the Data

2017 Raw Data (Excel file)

2016 Raw Data (Excel file)

2015 Raw Data (Excel file)

2014 Raw Data (Excel file)

2013 Raw Data (Excel file)

2013 Final Report (PDF)

2014 Final Report (PDF)