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.

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.

This week marked the final week for the 2017 What's Blooming in Budd season. We've resurrected a photo from early in the season because we wish to highlight our wonderful volunteer, Roberta. Roberta not only assisted with every sampling event this summer, but also completely "ran the show" this Thursday while Mary and I were out-of-town attending a shellfish conference. Many thanks, Roberta! You help make this program so fun and educational.

While at the conference, we had the opportunity to speak with Jerry Borchert from WA Dept. of Health's marine biotoxin program. He expressed his appreciation for the data that this program has provided over the summer. Our cell count data has mirrored the rise and fall of toxins detected in WDOH's mussel tissue samples. In fact, just this week, lower Budd Inlet was closed to shellfish harvesting due to elevated Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) levels. Jerry noted that our data is helpful in that it also records the particular species of Dinophysis that is prominent during toxic events. For example, D. fortii has typically been associated with producing the toxin Okadaic Acid (at fairly low concentrations). Whereas, D. acuminata and several other species tend to produce DTX1 (the most common and toxic) and DTX2 (recently detected here and typically found on the East Coast).

This week's plankton photograph illustrates one cell of D. acuminata (top left) and one cell of D. fortii (lower right). Note the small round shape of the first and larger lima bean shape of the second. Dominant species detected this week included dinoflagellates, Akashiwo sanguinea, Ceratium fusus, and to a lesser extent Noctiluca. The harmful algal bloom (HAB) species, Dinophysis and Pseudo-nitzschia, were present.

Thank you to all the enthusiastic citizen scientists that joined us at the dock this year and to Stream Team for supporting this important work. See you next year!

Aimee and Mary

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:
September 21, 2017
Vertical Net Tow Depth: 3 meters
Dominant Species:
Akashiwo sanguinea, Ceratium fusus
Common Species:
# of Species Observed: 28
Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) species: Dinophysis, Pseudo-nitzchia
# of HABs per drop:
Dinophysis: 37 cells or 220 cells/L; PN:11 cells or 65 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)