A catalyst for ecosystem recovery

The University of Washington Puget Sound Institute provides analysis, research and communication to inform and connect the science of ecosystem protection.

The big picture: Our comprehensive approach

Ecosystem management in Puget Sound has become increasingly complex. Scientists now recognize that what happens on the land is intricately tied to the health of the water. We face climate change and unprecedented population growth, and researchers have identified thousands of different human-caused pressures on the ecosystem. Given limited resources, how can managers and policymakers make informed decisions about where to focus their recovery efforts?

More: About PSI


The Puget Sound Institute provides expertise across three major areas:

1. Science for policy

Technical assistance to resource managers and policymakers
PSI and our partners receive major funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to support and enhance new strategies for improving the health of Puget Sound.

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United States Environmental Protection Agency

Puget Sound Partnership

human wellbeing indicator wheel
The human wellbeing indicator wheel was developed to provide a social science perspective on ecosystem management.

2. Research

Scientific studies
Our expertise is strongly grounded in original research. Since 2010, PSI scientists along with our collaborators at the Center for Urban Waters have published on a range of topics, including the ecology of forage fish, stormwater, microplastics, social science and emerging contaminants.

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3. Communication

Trusted, decision-critical information
We bring together scientific findings from around the region through synthesis, study panels, technical peer-reviews and publications such as the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and Salish Sea Currents.

More: Connecting the science

Browse: Encyclopedia of Puget Sound

A collection of Salish Sea Currents printed flyers.
Salish Sea Currents stories are published online in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and also printed as annual booklets and flyers.


Recent blog posts

Six-month-old Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) seed. Photo: Benjamin Drummond/benjandsara.com

Return of a native: Olympia oysters are making a comeback

February 21, 2019

Prior to European settlement, dense assemblages of Olympia oysters covered as many as 20,000 acres, or 26.7% of Puget Sound’s intertidal zone. Today they occupy…

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Scientists from five countries seek out the secrets of salmon

February 15, 2019

The international salmon expedition will try to find out why so many salmon go out into the Pacific Ocean and never return. By Christopher Dunagan…

Riparian buffers are strips of trees and shrubs along stream sides. They filter nutrients and chemicals, shade and protect the stream, and provide habitat for birds, insects and fish. Photo courtesy of USDA.

Do financial incentives motivate farmers to conserve land?

February 8, 2019

Occasionally, this space includes reports and essays from guest writers on the subject of Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. Today’s guest blog is from Mollie Chapman,…

PSI senior research scientist Marc Mangel.

Marc Mangel joins PSI

February 8, 2019

By Jeff Rice How many fish are in the Salish Sea? It’s an impossible question that drives the Puget Sound Institute’s newest senior scientist Marc…

Scientists collect breath samples of an orca using a long pole with petri dishes attached at the end. Photo: Pete Schroeder

The Orca Docs: When should medical experts intervene to save a killer whale?

February 4, 2019

This week we present “The Orca Docs,” a two-part series from our senior writer Christopher Dunagan. The series focuses on some of the issues related…

An excavator removes shoreline armoring in Puget Sound. Photo by Doris Small, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Shoreline armoring is “death by a thousand cuts” for ecosystem

January 31, 2019

Puget Sound Institute research scientist Aimee Kinney was quoted in a January 25th story on KUOW radio about the removal of shoreline armoring in Puget…

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