Ecosystems services photo competition

Paul TaylorHelp tell the Shellfish Farming Ecosystem Services Story with Your Photo!
– Submissions Due On The 15th of Every Month

Shellfish culture plays a vital role in providing natural ecosystem services to all living things in our marine environment. Ecosystem services are the beneficial ecological processes or outcomes which result from shellfish farming that we often take for granted.

Such services include:

  • improved water quality
  • habitat and protection for marine animals
  • pollination for plants
  • soil fertility
  • forage opportunities
  • carbon and nutrient sequestration

We need your photos to help document these important ecological benefits!Submit your own photo and win a cash prize!


Winning Photos

  • December 2012 Winner James Hall
  • February 2013 Winner Erik Schlagenhauf - Tomalas Bay, CA
  • November 2014 Winner Brian Phipps, Shelton, WA - This is a photo showing the commensal relationship between sand dollars and geoduck. Geoduck survival is higher when sand dollars are present. It would appear they limit predation on the geoduck. It might be described as mutualism as it appears the sand dollars derive some benefit as well since they actively colonize geoduck beds.
  • March 2013 Winner Nicholas Wenzel - Harstine Island, WA 2013 Grand Prize Winner!
  • January 2015 Winner Zack Meyers, Olympia, WA - This egg mass is from the many gunnels that have been using the oysters as habitat. The oysters and the bags they grow in provide essential habitat and protection for many fish species.
  • April 2013 Winner Don Gillies - Willapa Bay, WA
  • December 2014 Winner Paul Taylor, Shelton, WA - This is floating oyster culture. As you can see there is quite the zoo, including sea urchins, mussels, and a variety of sponges.
  • May 2013 Winner Neil Kalson - Humboldt Bay, CA
  • February 2015 Winner Paul Taylor, Shelton, WA - Oysters and eelgrass cohabitating in Willapa Bay, both are critical habitat to our marine ecosystem.
  • June 2013 Winner Lissa James - Hood Canal, WA
  • June 2014 Winner Larry Morgan - Belfair, WA The bags of shell used as burms to hold seed oysters inside the nursery catch thousands of natural oyster spat during the spawn. The nursery creates habitat for fish, crabs, eels, and an abundance of marine plants and animals.
  • July 2013 Winner Ian Jefferds - Penn Cove, WA
  • January 2013 Winner Don Gillies - Willapa Bay, WA
  • August 2013 Winner Eric Hall - Willapa Bay, WA
  • September 2013 Winner Bill Dewey - Juvenile Dungeness Crab on Oysters, Willapa Bay, WA
  • January 2014 Winner Mat Bulldis - Nisqually Reach, WA Geoduck tube serves as a shrimp refuge The tiny reflections are the eyes of hundreds of shrimp
  • February 2014 Winner Linda Schaffel - Olympia, WA This photo depicts habitat and protection provided by mussel rafts. The diverse layers of organisms throughout the rafts are incredible. These pictures were taken from above the surface looking into the water.
  • March 2014 Winner Weatherly Bates - Homer, AK Oyster cages are great urchin habitat and the grazing urchins help keep our cages and oysters clean.
  • April 2014 Winner Matt Smith - WA Micro-habitat amongst sleeves used for geoduck farming support many species of macroalgae, crustaceans, echinoderms, and sponges.
  • May 2014 Winner Brian Sheldon of Ocean Park, WA - Native drills gathering for spawn on a single oyster on one of our bottom culture beds. They rely on oyster or other shells to spawn and lay eggs.
  • July 2014 Winner Sue Shotwell, Olympia, WA - Every day during low tide, pairs of Great Blue Herons travel from a rookery at the head of Henderson Inlet to gather on the Nisqually Indian Tribe oyster farm. Whether the oysters are grown on the ground or suspended, the habitat they provide for smaller invertebrates draws forage fish who directly benefit from the abundant food source.
  • April 2015 Winner Weatherly Bates, Homer, AK - Suspended culture of oysters provides ample space for annual kelps and seaweeds to grow on. The kelp sets in the winter and grows at an astonishing rate in the spring, making an underwater forest under the farms. The kelp provides habitat for invertebrates and fishes and is also used by herring to spawn their eggs on.
  • August 2014 Winner Nicole Gilmore, Bellingham, WA - Lots of sponges (I think they are breadcrumb sponges) using clam nets for habitat.
  • May 2015 Winner Bill Dewey, Shelton, WA - Sea lemons (Doris montereyensis) mating and laying eggs on a predator net in Samish Bay. This species feeds almost exclusively on sponges which are abundant on the nets on the Chuckanut Shellfish farm.

Capture an example of ecosystem services and submit it online. All submissions will become the property of PCSGA and will not be returned. Photos will be posted on the PCSGA website and Facebook page – and may be reprinted for use in promotional, research and/or marketing material.


A $100 prize will be awarded each month to the photo that best illustrates ecosystem services. In addition, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall winners will be awarded prize money totaling $1,000 at PCSGA’s Annual Conference! You do not need to be present to win.


Submit your photo via email to by the 15th of each month. Submissions must include:


Mailing address

Brief 1-2 sentence explanation of ecosystem service illustrated in photo