Northwest Fisheries Science Center

What are we measuring?

We began this research project in 2012 in order to identify relationships between land use practices and the properties of streams and nearshore marine ecosystems around Puget Sound. Our goal is to examine how ecosystem structure (the relative abundance of different species) and ecosystem functions (the processes connecting species to one another) vary according to the level of urbanization. We do this by collecting data that help us answer these questions:

  • How much and how fast plants (e.g., algae) grow?
  • How much and how fast invertebrates (e.g., clams) grow?
  • How fast plants (eelgrass and tree leaves) decay?
  • How much and how fast things get eaten by predators?
  • How many different kinds (diversity) of invertebrates are there?