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Citizen Scientist Photo

Become a citizen scientist!

Join the SoundToxins volunteer phytoplankton monitoring program and contribute toward early warning of HAB events. Learn more...


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The man with a plan

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

Opportunities for Students at PSI

The Pacific Shellfish Institute values and supports significant and meaningful involvement by students and volunteers in our research and outreach.

PSI is dedicated to inspiring students to become the next generation of scientists and stewards of our oceans and estuaries


We strive for projects that link PSI focused interests and staffing with participation by graduate, undergraduate and secondary students. Our past success working with students has helped us to recognize the value of such activities to the student, the project, and PSI.

We are committed to working with students to explore opportunities for internships, work-study, and volunteering. At imes, PSI also offers temporary paid opportunities for students interested in assisting with lab work or shellfish surveys.

Career Connections

Are you thinking about a career as a marine biologist? Click on our Staff Photo to discover how each of us became research scientists, what we do on a typical day, our favorite projects, and our career advice to you! If you have more questions, contact us! We’d love to chat! Or, invite us into your classroom for our "Careers in Marine Science" presentation.

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Click on the following video links to learn about a few surveys that PSI staff perform. More surveys – eelgrass, drone, and burrowing shrimp – to come!

SoundToxins Plankton Monitoring Video (2-minutes)

Dungeness Crab Light Trap Monitoring (1-minute)

Shellfish Population Survey (2-minutes)

Fish Seine Survey (2.5-minutes)

Science Fair Support

PSI and a private donor are excited to once again team up to offer $1,000 to support K-12 students participating in this year’s Regional and Washington State Science and Engineering Fairs. Funds may be used to purchase materials needed to conduct research related to sustainable shellfish aquaculture and/or water quality in Puget Sound and coastal estuaries. For information on how to apply, click Here or visit WSSEF. Application deadline is February 2nd.

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Ani VanMore testing pH and dissolved oxygen levels in her experimental treatment.

Ani VanMore, a 7th grader at Jane Addams Middle School in Seattle, received financial support to conduct her research on “Reducing Ocean Acidification in the Puget Sound.” Ani was awarded a 2021 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair First Place Award, the Marine Sciences Outstanding Research Award and Broadcom Masters Award Nomination. Congratulations, Ani! You have a bright future ahead!


Student Spotlights

Volunteer Student Intern: Shriya Prasanna (10th-11th grade)

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Shriya collecting water quality data and a net tow sample for the SoundToxins program.

Shriya Prasanna, a junior at Olympia High School, is a volunteer student intern at PSI. Shriya performs field work for NOAA’s SoundToxins phytoplankton monitoring program. She also screens samples for harmful algal blooms (HABs), processes eelgrass samples, performs data entry and analysis, conducts independent research, and participates in local stewardship events. Thank you, Shriya, for your time, enthusiasm and high quality work!

Volunteer Student Intern: Skyler Elmstrom (college)

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Skyler and crew recording shellfish species, length and weight data.

Skyler Elmstrom, a student from Edmonds Community College, volunteered to help conduct a shellfish population survey at Kayak Point Park in July 2015. Skyler and fellow students surveyed, identified and measured clams at 100 GPS marked sites before returning them to the beach. Skyler applied his recently acquired GIS skills to create maps illustrating the spatial distribution of shellfish species over the entire beach. The maps were professional and included in the Final Report. Thank you, Skyler!

For more information on internship and volunteer opportunities at PSI, contact:

Aimee Christy
Tel. 360-754-2741


Student Internships

Are you interested in participating in a PSI research project or stewardship event? If so, come get your feet wet by joining us in the field. We offer opportunities as short as 1-2 visits or as long as a 6-month volunteer student internship. Contact PSI and let us know how we can support you!

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Click HERE for an example of what a student internship might look like. Internships may change depending on PSI’s current research focus.


Student Research

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Video Analysis of Seasonal Habitat Utilization on Shellfish Farms

Lisa Abdulghani, a Master’s candidate at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA braves the winter weather to conduct research for PSI into how organisms may utilize shellfish aquaculture as a form of habitat.

Lisa is visiting shellfish farms and interacting with local growers to learn about their aquaculture practices and deploying underwater cameras at several shellfish farms to capture and analyze still images and video of the habitat created by these activities.

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PSI is a proud member of Graduate Yelm! Graduate Yelm is Yelm Community Schools collective impact campaign to help students achieve 100% graduation rates. Together with community partners we serve to mentor students and provide professional development opportunities to ensure students are prepared to graduate.