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?

Track water quality & plankton in this Stream Team & Rose Foundation sponsored program

Phytoplankton monitoring summer schedule 2018

Collect Data

Discover What's Blooming and learn more about these fascinating organisms 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.

Ever wonder what microscopic organisms you're swimming with? This summer, PSI will also visit a number of favorite swimming holes including Ward Lake, Long Lake, Deep Lake and others. Water samples will be screened for freshwater cyano-HABs and the results will be shared with Thurston County Environmental Health.

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 might ultimately help researchers forecast HAB events.


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! 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.

Collect a plankton sample using your new net and deliver it to us (cold and within 24-hours of collection) to be featured on What's Blooming? Contact Aimee Christy or Katie Houle for delivery options.

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, or to join us during sampling events, contact PSI's Aimee Christy or Katie Houle (360-754-2741) or Michelle Stevie at the City of Olympia Stream Team.

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: Boston Harbor, Budd Inlet (DERT Kayak Patrol! Photo of Jo and Logan recording YSI data)
Sample Date:
March 5, 2022
Vertical Net Tow Depth: 3-meters
Dominant Species:
Chaetoceros, Skeletonema
Common Species:
Detonula, Thalassiosira
# of Species Observed: 38
Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) species: Dinophysis, Pseudo-nitzschia
# of HABs (cells/L):
Dinophysis (24 cells/L), P/N (72 cells/L)

Noctiluca Gauge - Forecasting a bioluminescent night show!

Noctiluca Gauge

2021 Final Report (PDF)

2020 Final Report (PDF)

2019 Final Report (PDF))

2018 Final Report (PDF)

2017 Final Report (PDF)