Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Citizen Science in Pictures

How well do you know our Citizen Science projects? Here’ s a test! Below are short descriptions of the various projects volunteers carry out here at PTMSC and groups of photos. Can you match project descriptions with the pictures? Let’s see!

Sound Toxins: Volunteers sample for plankton at various sites, looking specifically for species that cause harmful algal blooms.  These organisms are harmful to human health and/or the economic health of Puget Sound, and we serve as an early warning system!

BEACH: Our volunteers brave the cold water (wading in a few feet) to monitor bacteria levels at local beaches and educate the public about the risks of polluted water.  We work with the government to close beaches when levels are dangerously high.

Mussels/PSP: We collect samples of blue mussels which are sent to a lab (via UPS! What an adventure!) and tested for the toxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS): We identify local seabirds to develop a baseline of their populations and learn about how to target response efforts in the case of oil spills.

Ocean Genome Legacy Project: We take tissue samples of dead marine animals (that die in our exhibit or that wash up on shore nearby).  Their genome is sequenced to further scientific understanding of the marine environment in light of biodiversity loss in our world’s oceans.

Purple Martin: We’re keeping track of Purple Martins that land and nest in the houses built on our pier. Purple Martin’s experienced a dramatic population decrease in the last century so we’d like to know how our own local birds are faring.

Abalone Halfway House (brand new!): Due to the staggering population decline in Pinto Abalone caused by recreational overfishing, we partnered up with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund to raise 200 juvenile Abalone. We are housing one group in the lab and another on the pier and gathering data on their growth rates.

Oceanography on the Dock (brand new!): A free program intended to get the public involved in testing some physical oceanography parameters. Guided by a staff or volunteer, O-dock participants measure salinity, pH, temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and more while learning about their connection to conservation. 

Now…here’s your test! Match the project descriptions with their photos. Answers at the bottom.

Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Project 4

Project 5
Project 6
Project 7
Project 8


Project 1 - Abalone Halfway House
Project 2 - Purple Martin
Project 3 - BEACH
Project 4 - Ocean Genome Legacy
Project 5 - Oceanography on the Docks
Project 6 - Puget Sound Seabird Survey
Project 7 - Mussels/PSP
Project 8 - Sound Toxins

Did you pass the test?  I hope this gallery of our fabulous work inspires you to keep working hard as a volunteer or to get involved if you aren't already.  Keep in mind there are always ways that you can be a citizen scientist!

Coming Soon:
Roof Runoff: We’ll be sampling roof runoff from houses both in Port Townsend and Seattle to test for toxic chemicals.  If you are available to be trained for sampling in the fall and want to participate, we’d love for you to get involved!  Please contact Jamie Landry at jlandry@ptmsc.org or 385 5582 x112.

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