Thursday, September 18, 2014

What our Eyes Over Puget Sound saw on Sept. 16

By Sandy Howard, Communication Manager, Environmental Assessment Program

Have you ever looked at water from Puget Sound under a microscope? 

You may be surprised at what you see. 

Microscopic single-celled algae called phytoplankton are a crucial part of the marine ecosystem and are the foundation of the Puget Sound food web. Two main types of phytoplankton are diatoms and dinoflagellates.

We give these little guys a shout out in this edition of Eyes Over Puget Sound.

Observations for Sept. 16

Sunshine and warmth continue into September.  Dissolved oxygen remains relatively high in Hood Canal, which is a good thing, but it is lower elsewhere.  Satellites also show relatively warm water in the Strait of Georgia and Whidbey Basin and an extensive offshore bloom.

Our cover shows our sensor packages and water samplers getting lowered into the phytoplankton-laden green water of Saratoga Passage off Whidbey Island.

As summer ends, water temperatures remain  high in South Sound where red-brown plankton blooms and large smacks of jellyfish adorn the water surface.  Explore what frequent  blooms in smaller bays can tell us.

Eyes Over Puget Sound combines high-resolution photo observations with satellite images, en route ferry data between Seattle and Victoria BC, and measurements from our moored instruments.

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