Aging of Giant Pacific Octopus:

The North Pacific Giant Octopus graces the Hatfield Marine Science Center logo and comprises the prime exhibit at the Visitor’s Center, but we lack validated aging techniques, population structure, and movement patterns for this iconic species. Despite being highly charismatic megafauna, most cephalopod species lack basic stock assessment metrics such as age structure or size-at-age models. Without this information, scientists and managers have trouble assessing the status of a population. Bycatch of species with incomplete life history and population structure information can lead to the closure of fisheries, economic hardship, and food shortages. The North Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) caused such a closure of North Pacific cod pot fishery in 2011.

In 2016 the Marine Team will collaborated with National Marine Fisheries Service stock assessors to develop a method for aging Enteroctopus dolfleini using beaks and stylets. These hard parts have growth increments similar to tree rings or fish otoliths. These growth increments are believed to represent days that the individual has been alive. By determining the ages of octopus caught in NOAA survey trawls during 2010, 2011 and 2016, we can investigate size-at-age relationships, stock structure and potentially develop protocols for expediting age estimates.

Stylets and beaks were being processed and imaged for increment reading. All volunteers were trained to prepare, embed, and mount stylets or beaks; imaged samples using microscope mounted cameras and software; and/or counted growth increments using images, software, and developed protocols.

One student used her results to produce this poster for the Celebrating Undergraduate Excellence Student Symposium at OSU:

Dynamic Revetment Monitoring Program (2012-2016):

Project Summary: Due to extreme erosion near HMSC facilities, scientists installed a dynamic revetment and initiated a multiple year monitoring plan. The marine team sampled fish for this group project and compared sites on the cobble beach of the dynamic revetment to an adjacent sand bottom reference area. Monthly seining events provided critical information regarding the distribution and abundance of fish, species diversity, and seasonal and interannual variations of these metrics. The Marine Team also collected video footage for comparison to the seining data and to investigate the efficiency of the seine on the revetment cobbles. This project trained dozens of students in basic monitoring protocols, safe fish handling, and data collection over the course of five years.  This example case study is currently being used to demonstrate experimental design and data analysis in OSU courses to further train the next generation of marine based scientists.

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Measuring and identification of fish species collected by seine on the dynamic revetment.

Project Data and Products:

These figures highlight some of the results of the Dynamic Revetment Monitoring Program:

Total number of individuals captured by seine in both the DRP shoreline sites and the Reference shoreline sites during the 2014 sampling season.
Total number of individuals captured by seine in both the DRP shoreline sites and the Reference shoreline sites during the 2014 sampling season.
This figure shows the three year average diversity index for each sampling station of this project. Stations 1-3 are located on the dynamic revetment, and stations 4-6 are located in the adjacent reference area.
This figure shows the three year average diversity index for each sampling station of this project. Stations 1-3 are located on the dynamic revetment, and stations 4-6 are located in the adjacent reference area.

Watch some of the collected video of the dynamic revetment here:

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Project scientists produced publicly available annual reports. Access them using the links below or by searching the OSU archives.

2012 Report

2013 Report

2014 Report

2015 Report

Yaquina Bay Community Analysis Project (2002-2012):

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Project Summary: The Yaquina Community Analysis project is a partial replicate of De Ben et al.’s (1990) survey designed to show ecological change in the benthic community of Yaquina Bay, Oregon following prolonged and intense development of natural shoreline and dredging of the main channel.  This snapshot comparison highlights large-scale changes to the deep marine community of Yaquina Bay since De Ben et al.’s (1990) work in 1967-1968.  The project was a success and suggested that shoreline and channel habitat alteration as one of many possible drivers of change in the area.  This work is a meaningful contribution to our understanding of how an esturarine community can change over time.  Long-term monitoring of any system is difficult, but this work can be viewed as a more recent baseline for the benthic marine community structure of Yaquina Bay. It is also valuable to the field of coastal and estuarine science as an endpoint study of community change in a developing port.

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Other Past Projects Include:

  • Movement patterns of Dungeness crab in Yaquina Bay
  • Development of a recreational fish identification book
  • Investigations into barotrauma and release mortality in rockfish
  • Characterizing the ichthyoplankton of Yaquina bay
  • Diet influences on the muscle and skin coloration in lingcod