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Jellyfish in Puget Sound
Jellyfish numbers may be increasing in Puget Sound. You can help us monitor them.
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.
Introducing the Puget Sound Benthos Toolbox
September 6, 2023 Blog post:

Our list of Puget Sound invertebrates is over 1,200 and growing! We have compiled photos, descriptions, and reference materials of all documented invertebrates in a new interactive dashboard.
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.
Our sediment monitoring team contributes to the Smithsonian’s Global Genome Initiative
April 24, 2019 Blog post: Our scientists use DNA barcoding to identify Puget Sound benthic invertebrates. This work is a collaboration for the Global Genome Initiative.
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.
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.
We’re bubbling over with joy for the bubble snails
March 14, 2024 Blog post:

Did you know that March contains not one but TWO bubble-themed holidays? Not to be left out of the fun, this month’s Critter is the bubbliest of them all: the bubble snails.
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).
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?
The arrow worms: Part worm, part fish, part…tiger?
July 22, 2020 Blog post: Let’s get “straight to the point”: the arrow worm is “right on target” to be named one of the strangest creatures roaming Puget Sound.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The brittle stars embody nature's fragility...and resilience
March 28, 2018 Blog post: The brittle stars truly are in a class all their own.
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.
Put a bow on it: Elevate your gift-wrapping game with the ribbon worms
December 22, 2020 Blog post: This year, when you spend more time wrapping your holiday gifts than picking them out, think about a group of critters who have taken their gift-wrapping game to the next level: the ribbon worms.
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.
Things that go bump in the night: the sea spiders look a fright
October 26, 2017 Blog post: Sea spiders have segmented bodies, hard exoskeletons, and long, thin legs like land spiders, but they are not closely related.
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!
Explore your sweet (or bitter) side this Valentine’s Day with the western bittersweet
February 13, 2020 Blog post: This Valentines day, celebrate our most complicated emotions and learn more about the western bittersweet.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beware of cute little monsters: The jelly-dwelling anemone has a spooky secret
October 28, 2020 Blog post: Step aside, Alien. Puget Sound has its very own version of this famous parasitic predator, but without the terrifying claws or fangs.
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.
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.
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 spiny pink scallop is ready for sweater weather
September 26, 2019 Blog post: This particular scallop is known for its bright color and the prominent spines that adorn the ribs running down its shell.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The gaper clams live in the shadows of giants
July 27, 2021 Blog post: Nothing says “summer” like digging for clams in Puget Sound, but finding a gaper clam often brings disappointment. Geoduck hunters, don’t despair — the humble gaper is a treasure in its own right.
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.
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.
Got New Year’s resolutions? The two-tentacled hydroid proves that change is possible
January 13, 2021 Blog post: Beneath the waters of Puget Sound, the two-tentacled hydroid proves that it’s possible to make a completely fresh start, while still keeping a few of those old bad habits.
Snuggle up! The common slipper snail gets close for comfort
September 28, 2020 Blog post: The first days of fall are here, and nothing makes me want to pile on the cozy layers like the arrival of the rainy season. This month’s critter embodies the fashion motto of 2020: comfort is IN.
Bad blood? More like "mad love" for the Pacific blood star
October 25, 2023 Blog post:

With its bright coloring, the Pacific blood star Henricia leviuscula is a recognizable sight in rocky tide pools. Read on to learn about the crimson critter with a few tricks up its spindly sleeves.”-than-bad-blood”-for-the-pacific-blood-star
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