Shellfish Research and Information
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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 water quality & plankton in this Stream Team & Inspire Olympia sponsored program

Phytoplankton monitoring summer schedule 2018

Collect Data

Join PSI at the Port Plaza dock (lower Budd Inlet) every Thursday this summer from 10:00-12:00! No reservations required.

Discover "What's Blooming in Budd?" and view weekly plankton photos and water quality data by clicking here: What's Blooming This Week?

Every week, PSI biologists dip their net into Budd Inlet to track plankton communities and screen for harmful algal blooms, or HABs. HABs are blooms of phytoplankton that cause harm to people, animals, or local water quality. This data will be submitted to NOAA’s SoundToxins program, a phytoplankton monitoring network designed to provide early warning of HABs in an effort to protect human health and economic losses to fisheries.

Analyze Data

What can we learn from our data? Monitoring water quality helps us recognize trends, patterns and changes over time. For example, the data that we collect ultimately helps researchers forecast HAB events and better understand how changing climate conditions impact plankton communities.


To track plankton communities and water quality over the summer print a Plot-Along-At-Home graph template or draw your own. You can even create your own template based on your individual research questions. How do temperature and salinity differ between the surface and depth? Is there a relationship between temperature and HAB concentrations? Plot the data and find out! Data can be found at the end of the "What's Blooming This Week?" document. Share your graphs with us! We'd love to see your results!

Plot-Along-At-Home Plankton

Take Action

Build your own plankton net using a soda bottle, nylon stockings and duct tape.

Starting September 1, 2022, you can check out one of PSI's Discover Plankton Lendable Kits at the Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey Timberland Libraries! Kits include a plankton net, microscope, ID guides and more! Thank you Keta Legacy! You are always welcome to drop by our office to view your plankton samples under our amazing Olympus Inverted microscope. Contact Aimee Christy or Mary Elizabeth to schedule a visit!

Did you know that Budd Inlet experiences low oxygen concentrations during late summer? Excess nutrients fuel phytoplankton blooms that ultimately sink to the bottom of the inlet. Bacterial decomposition of this organic matter robs the water of valuable oxygen resulting in stressful conditions for marine life. Learn about nutrient pollution and what actions you can take to reduce your personal input into Puget Sound. Picking up pet waste, composting, and washing your car at a car wash (or on your lawn) are a few ways to improve water quality.

More Information

For more information, contact PSI's Aimee Christy or Mary Elizabeth (360-754-2741). Thank you to our generous funders! Without your support, this important work would not be possible!

Stream Team LogoStream Team Logo


Learn More: Monitoring programs and plankton identification

Phytoplankton ID Guide

Zooplankton ID Guide

CyanoHAB ID Guide

Northwest Fisheries Science Center

NOAA/NWFSC SoundToxins

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

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.

What's Blooming This Week?

Location: Port Plaza, Budd Inlet
Sample Date:
June 20, 2024
Vertical Net Tow Depth: 3 -meters
Dominant Species:
Common Species:
Pleurosigma,Ceratium, zooplankton
# of Species Observed: 24
Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) species: Dinophysis, Akashiwo
# of HABs (cells/L):
Dinophysis (6 cells/L), Akashiwo (6 cells/L, Pseudo-nitzschia (6 cells/L).)

Noctiluca Gauge - Forecasting a bioluminescent night show!

Noctiluca Gauge

2023 Final Report (PDF)

2022 Final Report (PDF)

2021 Final Report (PDF)

2020 Final Report (PDF)

2019 Final Report (PDF))

2018 Final Report (PDF)

2017 Final Report (PDF)