Partnership for Modeling the Marine Environment of Puget Sound, Washington
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND PARKS SEATTLE WA
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Estuaries, fjords and sounds are important, major components of marine ecosystems worldwide. Because of this, and their generally poor treatment by man, large estuaries should be the focus of large-scale, multidisciplinary, integrative modeling efforts. We need to both understand how these systems work, and be able to predict how they will respond to changes, whether natural or anthropogenic. Puget Sound, Washington States largest inland sea, is both the largest fjord in the lower forty-eight states and closest to the substantial urban centers of Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and surrounding communities. Relative to other coastal systems, Pacific Northwest fjords have seasonally high annual phytoplankton standing stock and primary production, and they support several economically valuable fisheries. Our long-term goals are to develop quantitative understanding of the seasonal and longer time-scale variabilities of the Sounds circulation, roles of water column stratification, nutrients, and light and their interactions on phytoplankton and zooplankton dynamics, and the sensitivity of the physical and the biological system to natural and human perturbations. We will develop models of Puget Sound that can aid agencies with responsibilities for environmental management in making informed decisions and serve as marine science education tools.