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Puget Sound science
We study Puget Sound to detect human impacts and to target prevention and cleanup efforts.
How we help Puget Sound
We protect and restore Puget Sound through a wide variety of programs and activities.
Unmanned aerial systems (drones)
Unmanned aerial systems are aircrafts or vehicles piloted by remote control or onboard computers.
Studying Puget Sound benthos
April 7, 2014 Blog post: Our sediment team scientists examine the benthic community condition throughout Puget Sound and look at changes over time.
Marine sediment story maps:
April 28, 2021 Blog post: Our Marine Sediment Monitoring Team just released five new interactive story maps detailing their work to monitor the health of Puget Sound sediments.
"Everyday chemicals” found at the bottom of Puget Sound
January 7, 2022 Blog post: Our Marine Sediment Monitoring Team spent almost a decade sampling the muck under Puget Sound to measure chemical contaminants. Here's what they found.”-found-at-the-bottom-of-Puget-S
Our scientists contribute to “global biodiversity library”
August 30, 2019 Blog post: Last week I was in sunny Los Angeles for the third and final west coast invertebrate “bioblitz” of the summer — the LA Urban Ocean Expedition (LAUOE).
Our taxonomists “name that species!”
May 29, 2015 Blog post: Meet the two new taxonomists that recently joined the monitoring team, Dany Burgess and Angela Eagleston.
All you need is mud! The sea mouse is muddy but mighty
February 9, 2018 Blog post: The sea mouse may be brown and fuzzy, but that is about all it shares with its mammalian namesake. Believe it or not, the sea mouse is actually a marine segmented worm, or polychaete.—-The
What's bugging Puget Sound benthos?
November 30, 2021 Blog post: Ecology’s Marine Sediment Monitoring Team tracks the health of the sediments and invertebrates at the bottom of Puget Sound. They've been on the decline for decades – what could be contributing?
Life is stressful at the bottom of Bellingham Bay
January 8, 2014 Blog post: The communities of small invertebrates, also known as benthos, living in the sand and mud at the bottom of Bellingham Bay are showing signs of stress.
Ring in the New Year with the black-eyed hermit crab
January 6, 2017 Blog post: The black-eyed hermit is never far from home, because it carries it along. Hermit crabs find protection from predators inside empty snail shells.—-Blac
Having a bad hair day? The hair worms can relate
October 31, 2016 Blog post: The hair worms belong to a family of polychaetes called Cirratulidae, and their tangled hairs are actually branchiae, external gills that occur in pairs along their bodies.—-The
Our sediment monitoring team contributes to the Smithsonian’s Global Genome Initiative
April 25, 2019 Blog post: Our scientists use DNA barcoding to identify Puget Sound benthic invertebrates. This work is a collaboration for the Global Genome Initiative.
If the spirit moves (mud): The burrowing ghost shrimp
October 24, 2022 Blog post: Fall’s chill is in the air and decorations are going up all over town. Meanwhile, under the mud of Puget Sound, there’s a critter that stays in its costume all year long – the burrowing ghost shrimp.
The dove snails bring peace and good shell to all
December 19, 2018 Blog post: Dove snails don't look much like their avian namesake – except for the teardrop shape of their shells.—-dove
Think pink: bloodworms rule the beaches of South Sound
August 31, 2018 Blog post: Bloodworms are a type of polychaete, or marine segmented worm, in the family Glyceridae.—-Bloo
A moment in the sun for the common sun star
August 11, 2017 Blog post: With its bright sun-like appearance, the common sun star is one of the more beautiful creatures in Puget Sound.—-Comm
Where there’s a quill, there’s a way: The slender sea pen
March 2, 2016 Blog post: This month's critter looks a lot like an old fashioned-feather quill pen and is fittingly named Stylatula elongata, the sea pen.
Flora or fauna? The tube-dwelling anemone lights up the Sound with its "blooms"
June 5, 2017 Blog post: Meet the tube-dwelling anemone, a delicate blossom at the bottom of Puget Sound.—-Tube
Riddle me this: What is a glistenworm?
July 15, 2016 Blog post: The glistenworm is a shell-less, footless mollusk that burrows into marine sediments by digging with the shield around its mouth.—-The
Bad to the bone: The skeleton shrimps are drop-dead cool
October 29, 2018 Blog post: If you can put aside their alien appearance, skeleton shrimp are fascinating creatures.—-the
Making a stink: the Pacific stinkworm
June 10, 2016 Blog post: When disturbed, Travisia pupa, the stinkworm, as its name suggests, gives off a pungent odor similar to rotting garlic.–-The
Babies of the Benthos – Worm Edition
April 6, 2021 Blog post: In this Critter edition, let’s dive into the “birds and the bees” of benthic worms, and the resulting faces that only a mother (or an invertebrate taxonomist) could love.–-Worm-Edition
Sound-to-table? The sweet potato sea cucumber is a produce impersonator
October 11, 2016 Blog post: With its smooth, plump body, this month’s critter bears a resemblance to items you might find in a grocery store. Meet Molpadia intermedia, the Sweet Potato Sea Cucumber.—-Swee
It's field work time!
May 1, 2018 Blog post: Sediment monitoring field season is a perfect opportunity to talk about how we collect Puget Sound critters.!
Stretch it out: The squat lobster finds strength in flexibility
December 29, 2022 Blog post: It’s almost January, which for many, means healthy New Year’s resolutions. This month’s critter varies its routine to stay in shape year-round, in order to adapt to life in a changing ocean.
Puget Sound waters left sweltering after double punch from the drought and the Blob
July 30, 2015 Blog post:

Puget Sound waters were hit with a double-whammy. Late last year, "the Blob" was followed by an extremely warm winter, and the usual snowpack didn’t form in the mountains.
Meow we’re talking…about the catworms
June 22, 2022 Blog post: June is National Adopt-a-Cat Month. But what about the benthic version of our purrrfect pals? Let me tell you a tail of the catworms...…about-the-catworms
Babies of the Benthos – Crab edition
April 29, 2022 Blog post: Many invertebrates allow their young to fend for themselves in the water column, and our beloved Puget Sound crabs are no exception...but they are anything but claws-off when it comes to parenting.
The "unicorn" shrimp is pure magic
June 13, 2018 Blog post: Nebalia pugettensis is a tiny crustacean that lives on the sea floor, with a horn-like rostrum and leg-like appendages that function as lungs.—-Neba
The dumbbell worm is no dummy
June 12, 2015 Blog post: The dumbbell worm is tiny, ranging from 15 to 20 millimeters long and about 5 millimeters wide. It belongs to class Polychaeta, within the phylum Annelida.
Size matters — What can we learn from biomass and size classification?
July 19, 2018 Blog post: We're studying benthic invertebrate biomass (critter size) for the first time on a large scale in Puget Sound.—-What-can-we
Don’t go breaking my heart, crab!
February 10, 2021 Blog post: As rare and wondrous as true love itself, the heart crab maintains a quiet existence, delighting the hearts of those lucky enough for a chance encounter.’t-go-breaking-my-heart,-crab!
Celebrate Pride! The ornate tube worm sports all the colors of the rainbow
June 27, 2019 Blog post: Our benthic taxonomists share details on critters in sediment habitats, including life history, and the role each critter plays in the community. This month's focus is the Ornate Tube Worm.
Get winterized with the frost-spot corambe
December 2, 2016 Blog post: The frost-spot corambe is a beautiful sea slug with frosty white speckles that seem to glow as if it just swallowed a set of twinkly lights.—-The
May the ‘stache be with you – celebrate Movember with the shovelhead worm
November 16, 2020 Blog post: This month, let’s pay homage to the most fan-stache-tic of facial adornments (and be mindful of Movember’s mission) with Puget Sound’s mustachioed mud-dweller: the shovelhead worm.‘stache-be-with-you-–-celebrate-Movember-w
Bend, but don’t break: The bamboo worms flex and flourish
June 22, 2021 Blog post: Since June encompasses three outdoorsy occasions, let’s get our hands dirty and talk about an incredible group of animals that resemble a truly incredible plant: the bamboo worms.
Community Science Month is coming
March 24, 2021 Blog post: Science isn’t just for professional scientists. In April we’ll explore some of the ways anyone can get in on the action.
Explore your sweet (or bitter) side this Valentine’s Day with the western bittersweet
February 14, 2020 Blog post: This Valentines day, celebrate our most complicated emotions and learn more about the western bittersweet.
My heart will go on: the humble heart cockle lives long and prospers
February 14, 2019 Blog post: The heart cockle is a bivalve named for its heart-shaped profile. They are the largest cockles on the west coast, reaching almost 6 inches in length.—-the
Get ready to "fall" for the orange sea pen
September 29, 2017 Blog post: The orange sea pen resembles a colorful autumn tree waving in the breeze of moving water currents.—-The
The British Columbian Doto: Just another Northwest slug?
March 21, 2016 Blog post: The Doto is a species of sea slug, also known as a nudibranch. It is a marine gastropod in the family Dotidae.
The striped nudibranch: Don’t mess with this ferocious sea slug!
July 30, 2019 Blog post: Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, are the elegant, marine-dwelling cousins of the slimy brown slugs you find in your garden.’t-mess-with-this-feroci
Brighten your holiday season with the northern opalescent nudibranch
December 11, 2019 Blog post: This month’s aquatic critter looks like a luminous holiday spirit carrying dozens of flickering candles. Definitely don’t try this at home, no matter how festive the effect might be!
Here comes the sun! The golden petal worm shines like the rays of the spring sun
June 18, 2020 Blog post: This month’s critter has a set of flowery petals that shine through the dark waters of Puget Sound like the golden rays of the sun.!-The-golden-petal-worm-shines-l
Shifting sands: The sand star is born to run
May 3, 2016 Blog post: If you’ve ever been to an aquarium or explored a tide pool, then this Critter of the Month is no stranger to you!–-The
We're over the moon for the moon snail
April 7, 2017 Blog post: With its easily recognizable shell (the largest found on Puget Sound beaches), we are certainly over the moon for this month's critter: the Moon Snail.—-The
The cactus worm is on point and looking sharp
January 29, 2016 Blog post: This month’s critter may look like a cross between a worm and a cactus, but it is actually neither.
Pea crabs, the ultimate unwelcome houseguests
August 19, 2016 Blog post: Pea crabs are very tiny. They can be found inside oysters, marine worms, or — especially in the Pacific Northwest —in ghost shrimp burrows.—The-P
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