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Research at Padilla Bay

Research and monitoring of Padilla Bay and its watershed is carried out by our staff, students and faculty from various universities, and agency scientists. While these efforts generally focus on greater Puget Sound and other Pacific Northwest estuaries and watersheds, the gained information and knowledge makes a valuable contribution to the conservation and management of estuaries across the nation.

Study at Padilla Bay

Graduate students can receive fellowships at Padilla Bay to support their post-graduate and doctoral work. Monitoring programs, specifically water quality and critical species issues, are important to helping us formulate science-to-management decisions. Data and resulting knowledge are transferred to local, regional, state, and national audiences.

Importance of Padilla Bay research

Monitoring water quality and critical species habitats at Padilla Bay helps us formulate science-to-management decisions. Data and resulting knowledge are also shared with local, regional, state, and national audiences. Early career scientists can contribute to this work through assistantships at Padilla Bay to support their academic research.

Padilla Bay research supports conservation nationwide

The purpose of Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), among other purposes, is to research and monitor estuarine ecosystems. The aim of this research and monitoring is to investigate short-term variability and identify long-term trends. The information gained from these studies is used to aid conservation and management of the nation’s estuaries, with a particular focus on the greater Puget Sound and other estuaries in the Pacific Northwest.

Scientists working in Padilla Bay come from many different organizations including:

  • Universities
  • Research institutions
  • Local and tribal governments
  • State and federal agencies

Research projects cover a wide variety of topics in estuarine science. However, the extensive eelgrass meadows in Padilla Bay attract many studies focused directly or indirectly on some aspect of the eelgrass ecosystem.

Padilla Bay can support your research

Padilla Bay NERR is able to provide various forms of support to research projects conducted within the reserve boundaries. Support may be in the form of funding graduate research fellowships or collaboration on externally funded grants.

On-site support facilities include:

  • Research laboratory with space available for visiting scientists and students.
  • Guest house providing overnight accommodations.
  • Equipment and instrumentation for conducting ecological field research.
  • A research library that includes Padilla Bay technical reports and reprints.
  • Limited boat support for access to sample sites in Padilla Bay and adjacent waters.

Monitoring in Padilla Bay

Water quality monitoring includes basic physical water quality parameters, nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations, and weather as part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System System-wide Monitoring Program. We also conduct long-term monitoring of eelgrass, rocky intertidal habitats, and plankton communities.