The octopus population off the coast of Puget Sound is getting a closer look thanks to a team of voluntary divers. According to the Associated Press, this is part of Washington State's annual survey to determine the health of these creatures. As there is no official study looking at the octopuses in this area, this survey, managed by the Seattle Aquarium, is especially important.
One particular target of this work is the Giant Pacific Octopus, a species that has been in fluctuation over the past few years. Many other biological and environmental factors make monitoring of the octopuses crucial: they have short life spans, tend to hide in dark areas and are not protected by the government because they are not on the Endangered Species list.
The source spoke to local biologist Kathryn Kegel on the changing conditions that have affected these large underwater beasts, which can grow up to 150 pounds in size. Kegel explained why the Washington coast is such a welcoming spot for these octopuses to live.
"The Puget Sound offers good habitat, water temperature and an abundant food source for them," she said. In reference to the differing numbers of octopuses that have appeared in the area, she said "We've been watching the numbers go up, then kind of go down, then kind of go back up,. That could be having to do with population and mating. As they all peak and mate, they slowly die off, then they start to grow back up again."
In such a sensitive area, delicate conditions need to be respected by dive teams and the equipment they use. Diving insurance helps keep workers safe as they perform their duties, particularly in areas where the wildlife could be affected by their presence.