Restoring the Olympia, Washington’s only native oyster

A gloved hand points at an Olympia oyster on the beach

The Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida, is the only oyster native to Washington. Its historical range stretches from the coasts of British Columbia down to Southern California. Before the arrival of white settlers in Washington, there may have been 20,000 acres of Olympia oysters living throughout the bays and inlets of Puget Sound.

Monitoring the tiny creatures at the base of the food web can have a big impact

A microscopic photo of a copepod, a type of zooplankton

Zooplankton are a diverse group of small organisms that drift in marine and freshwater and feed on phytoplankton (plant plankton) and other zooplankton. This group includes jellyfish and comb-jellies, small crustaceans like copepods and krill, the larval forms of crabs and oysters, the larval or juvenile forms of some fish, and many other organisms.