clam larva

About the Class

10:00 - 11:00 AM Session 1
Speaker: Chandler Colahan

Though we all love the colorful sea stars and frolicking otters, it’s the tiny world below that keeps our Salish Sea ticking. Learn about the hidden majority of life that flourishes in our local waters and beyond.

In this session, we explore the secret world of plankton and look at how these microscopic organisms play vital roles in the ecosystems of the Salish Sea.  

clam larva
Clam (bivalve) Larva floats in the saltwater as plankton – seen here under microscope
Lions mane jelly fish
Lions Mane Jelly Fish. By: Joseph Mangiafico


  • Marine Algae and Plankton  from the Washington Department of Ecology
  • The Secret Life of PlanktonApprox 6 minutes video. New videography techniques have opened up the oceans’ microscopic ecosystem, revealing it to be both mesmerizingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. Marine biologist Tierney Thys created a film to ignite wonder and curiosity about this hidden world that underpins our own food chain. 
  • Nature Works, from New Hamphire PBS: Plankton (try clicking on the krill image)
  • Evergreen University – Visualizing Microbial Seascapes course on integrating art, animation, video and science of phytoplankton – pick one and learn all about it.
  • Globe Scientists’ Blog: Plankton: a small, but important, player in life on Earth, includes info on tools to study plankton, Secci Disk and Plankton Net

About the Speaker

Chandler Colahan

Education Coordinator at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Bayview, WA. She has been an environmental and marine educator for more than twenty...