Friday, February 9, 2018

Kelp Kelp Kelp!

When we think of a forest, a few things come to mind. Many of us think of trees, plants, animals and, massive amounts of biodiversity. Forests are highly productive ecosystems on land. However, forests exist in the sea as well.

Kelp forests are important ocean ecosystems which exist along coasts all over the world. Here in the Salish Sea we have these forests around us, as well. Just as the forests on land provide habitat, these ecosystems also provide habitat, food, and shelter for many marine species.

The Salish Sea has two types of canopy-forming kelp: giant kelp and bull kelp. Giant kelp grows on the western coast of Washington down to Baja California. It doesn’t extend past the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Giant kelp has a different anatomy than bull kelp and its forests are where you find sea otters.

Giant Kelp (

Bull kelp grows in the Salish Sea, as well as the west coast, and you’ve probably seen it washed up on the beaches around Port Townsend. It is part of an ecosystem that plays an important role in keeping the Salish Sea so productive.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

New Volunteer Information Session

Saturday | February 10 | 10 am - noon

Natural History Exhibit Classroom

Do you know someone interested in learning about volunteer opportunities with the Marine Science Center? Please let them know about our volunteer orientation! 

If they have any questions or to RSVP, they can contact Gabriele at You can also share the link to our website page on Volunteering at PTMSC. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Harbor to Harbor Beach Clean Up

Saturday, February 24th 9-11:30am

Cleanup starts and end behind Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.
Bring your own gloves! 
Hosted by NWMC/OCEAN Program

Friday, February 2, 2018

Low Tide Walk at Night, Monday, February 26, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

When: Monday, February 26, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Low tide @ 7:11p.m. (-1.5 ft.)

Where: North Beach County Park, Port Townsend

Cost: FREE (donations accepted)

What: Find out what marine critters get up to after dark!

How: Join us for a guided low tide walk led by PTMSC staff and volunteers.

Bring: Weather-appropriate clothing, flashlight and/or headlamp!

Please RSVP to James Swanson
at or
call (360) 385-5582 x 115

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Port Townsend Marine Science Center offers admission by donation to Natural History Exhibit

Pilot program will run through March 25

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center announced today it is offering "admission by donation" to the Natural History Exhibit through March 25. The exhibit, which features "Learning From Orcas: The Story of Hope," is open Friday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m., with last admission at 4 p.m.

PTMSC Natural History Exhibit featuring "Learning From Orcas: The Story of Hope,

about a transient female orca that beached and died locally in 2002.

"We would all like to see more visitors in the Natural History Exhibit, especially this time of year," said PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire. "Because we want to serve people from all walks of life, our admission pricing is already low, but even this can be a barrier for some visitors to Fort Worden State Park and from our community.

"We are hoping that this test period between now and the end of March will provide information about how we can best serve our community and visitors alike," Boire said.

Monday, January 22, 2018

6th Annual Martin Luther King Day Weed Pull

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Volunteers pulling invasive species and Himalayan blackberries.
Photo by Wendy Feltham 

The past month or so, the other AmeriCorps and I have been planning the 6th annual weed pull for Martin Luther King Day. Last Monday we finally got to see all our hard work come together and it turned out great!

MLK Day is a day of giving back and serving your community. In partnership with AmeriCorps and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, we were able to bring 48 people from the community together and fill three very large trucks with invasive dune grass and Himalayan blackberries from the beaches here at Fort Worden. 

Sea Scout using all his strength against blackberry bush.
Photo by Wendy Feltham 
I woke up Monday morning to a beautiful sunrise and no rain in sight, lucky for us... Around 9 a.m., all the AmeriCorps began our set up and run-through for the day.

Monday, January 15, 2018

University of Washington's E. Virginia Armbrust is lecturer at Port Townsend Marine Science Center's Future of Oceans Series, Sunday, Feb. 11, 3 p.m.

School of Oceanography director to discuss phytoplankton in a changing ocean climate

Admission: $5 (students, teachers free)

E. Virginia Armbrust, Ph.D., Director of School of
Oceanography at the University of Washington
E. Virginia Armbrust, Ph.D., director of the University of Washington School of Oceanography, will be the featured speaker in the fifth and final installment of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center's 2017-18 series, "The Future of Oceans."

Armbrust's lecture, "Phytoplankton in a Changing Ocean Climate," will take place at the Chapel at Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Wash., on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 3:00 p.m.

"Dr. Armbrust is known for her innovative approach to oceanography," said PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire. "While her research focuses on the micro-world of phytoplankton, the implications of her work have an important global reach. These tiny organisms create much of the oxygen in our atmosphere. In her lecture she'll be sharing how the rapidly changing ocean climate impacts this microscopic life form."

Most recently, Armbrust has identified chemical signals that form the basis of cross-kingdom communication. Her group developed ship-board instrumentation that now permits the fine-scale continuous mapping of distributions, growth rates and loss rates of different groups of phytoplankton.

"Dr. Armbrust's research focuses on marine phytoplankton, particularly marine diatoms, which are responsible for about 20 percent of global photosynthesis," said Boire. "She has pioneered the use of environmental genomics and transcriptomics, combined with metabolomics, to understand how natural diatom communities are shaped by the environment and by their interactions with other microbes."