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Puget Trough Marine Environment and Species

Puget Sound’s marine environment is rich and complex. The Sound features a wide variety of deepwater and nearshore habitats. These include coastal lagoons, kelp and seagrass beds, rocky shores, sandy beaches and spits, and salt marsh wetlands.

Steep underwater slopes in many parts of the Sound mean that the narrow strip of shallow water near the shore is all the more valuable. Sunlight allows eelgrass, seaweeds, and plankton to grow—providing food and shelter for myriad creatures.

Marine species include:

Animal Group

Approx. number of species
Marine mammals
Marine invertebrates

Some of these species are migratory and others reside year-round. Marine mammals include harbor seals, orcas, porpoises, and California sea lions.

Marine invertebrates include sea urchins and both native and introduced species of shellfish. Some of the largest octopus and barnacle species in the world live here.


For details of this ecoregion within Washington, click a subheading in the left column.

View the more general description of this ecoregion in North America

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