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


Our Work

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Where We Work
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Research
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Education
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Outreach
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Publications
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STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES

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Internships with PSI

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


FEATURED

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The man with a plan

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



OUTREACH

PSI staff educate local residents on water quality issues facing Puget Sound

Local events, public presentations, teacher workshops, citizen science and more!

Public Lectures

PSI biologists love talking about science and sharing our research with the public. Our vision is to create a community that is knowledgeable about local water quality issues and inspired to take every day actions to protect the health of Puget Sound. In August staff biologist Mary Middleton was invited to present, "The Science of Shellfish" as part of the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Groups "Brews and News" science series at Boston Harbor Marina. In September, staff biologists Aimee Christy and Andy Suhrbier presented, "Compost to Cucumbers: Solutions to Nutrient Pollution in Puget Sound" as part of the Washington Science Teachers Association science series, Oly Science and Brews at the Three Magnets Brewery in Olympia. Beginning this November at the Lacey Timberland Library, PSI presents:

Puget Sound and Pie Series

Learn about local water quality issues facing Puget Sound (and eat PIE!) at the Lacey Timberland Library 3:00-4:30 pm Nov. 7th, Dec. 5th and Dec. 15th! **Thank you to Thurston County Shellfish Protection District funds for making this lecture series possible! **

What's Blooming in Budd - Phytoplankton Monitoring

Thanks to a partnership with Stream Team, PSI biologists help citizen scientists 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!

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Outreach and Education Image

Young visitors investigate phytoplankton they collected from Budd Inlet. Join PSI every Thursday during the summer months, 2-4pm at the Port Plaza Dock!

OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS

PSI’s leadership of this Budd Inlet plankton monitoring program has touched hundreds of citizens each year since 2013. Data is utilized by Sound Toxins and PSI's efforts have been featured in the Washington Department of Ecology's Eyes Over Puget Sound.

Sound Toxins - Volunteer Phytoplankton Monitoring Network

SoundToxins (www.soundtoxins.org), a partnership among shellfish growers, learning centers, tribes, and volunteers, is a monitoring program designed to provide early warning of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in order to minimize both human health risks and economic losses to Puget Sound fisheries. The program is administered by Washington Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries. PSI has participated in monitoring programs such as the Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom partnership (ORHAB) (2001-2008) and SoundToxins because of the valuable role these programs play in better understanding and predicting HAB events.

PSI continues to participate in the SoundToxins rapid-response program by assisting with volunteer on-site training and support; data entry and quality assurance; and HAB monitoring. Our staff attends annual phytoplankton identification refresher courses and collects seasonal weekly phytoplankton samples and water quality data at several south Puget Sound locations. Staff is also responsible for providing Washington Sea Grant with periodic Sound-wide data.

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Outreach and Education Image

Efforts by PSI and SoundToxins volunteers help resource managers make more informed decisions that protect both industry and human health.

OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS

PSI’s participation in SoundToxins has helped establish more sampling locations throughout Puget Sound. PSI trains new volunteer monitors to increase the number of “eyes on the water." Data collected for this long-term database improves our understanding of HABs and regional water quality conditions.

Shellfish Gardening

As filter feeders, bivalve mollusks such as oysters cleanse local waters and provide a complex structure that supports juvenile fish, crab and shrimp species. These filtration and nutrient cycling services are particularly helpful in combating increased nutrient pollution associated with a growing human population. Oyster gardening (hobby shellfish farming by private tideland owners) enhances water quality and raises awareness of water quality issues and the role of bivalve shellfish in Puget Sound in an enjoyable, hands-on way. PSI provides training and information on developing private shellfish gardens, which include species selection, methods and materials, environmental conditions, and human health considerations.

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Outreach and Education Image

Are you a shoreline resident on Puget Sound? Interested in growing your own shellfish? Contact PSI for more information about shellfish gardening.

OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS

PSI has provided training, information, and materials to more than 40 shoreline residents interested in growing their own clams and oysters. Participants not only learned how to grow their own shellfish, they also learned more about water quality conditions in their area and measures they can take to reduce pollution.

Shellfish Farmers as First Responders to Spills

Oil spills occur with disturbing regularity in our coastal waters. Spills originating from vessel groundings or minor oil spills in adjacent uplands can adversely impact shellfish growers, and tribal, commercial and recreational harvesters. Unless they are properly trained and certified, growers cannot participate directly in spill containment and cleanup. PSI has provided oil spill response services ranging from preventative training and initial assessment to spill containment, cleanup, and loss claims for growers in Puget Sound, Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

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Oil Spill First Responders

Oil spill kits that PSI staff made available to shellfish growers as a result of this training included absorbent bilge pads, gloves, a brochure targeting fishermen and boaters, and another brochure detailing measures vessel owners can take to prevent large and small spills.

OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS

PSI staff member Andy Suhrbier completed HAZWOPER training, which consisted of classroom and hands on exercises with DOE, EPA, Coast Guard, Navy, and professional cleanup personnel. Mr. Suhrbier chaired an Oil Spill Session at PCSGA and NSA Annual Conferences in 2005, where 199 oil spill kits were handed out to shellfish growers and scientists.

Puget Sound and Pie Series:

Join us December 15th at 3pm!

OA and Pie
OA and Pie

Thank you to all those who participated in the first Puget Sound and Pie talk on November 7th! Local residents learned about ocean acidification, its impact on Puget Sound shellfish and what PSI has been doing to help the shellfish industry address this serious issue. Join us on December 15th, 3:00 - 4:30 pm at the Lacey Timberland Library for our last talk about Ocean Plastic Pollution, its impacts on shellfish and how YOU can do something about it!

OA and Pie
FUNDING SOURCES:

City of Olympia Stream Team

Thurston County Shellfish Protection Districts

The Russell Family Foundation

WA Dept. of Ecology

Nisqually Tribe Charitable Funds

Squaxin Island Tribe

Thurston County Conservation District

Mountaineers Foundation

Community Foundation of South Puget Sound

PCSGA Slurp Funds

Lucky 7

CONTACT US

Aimee Christy

Outreach & Education Coordinator