Octopuses are one of the most common and important predators in benthic coastal ecosystems. Their prey includes recovering and endangered abalone populations in southern California. This project will address knowledge gaps in octopus movement and feeding behavior, specifically whether they can discover and exploit new food sources, whether they return to an area after translocation, and their preferred habitats and movements in the La Jolla kelp forest. Results will inform the NMFS White Abalone Management Plan, the CDFW Abalone Recovery and Management Plan, and commercial trapping fisheries that experience catch loss to octopuses. The investigators will also provide digital media and themed programs on the project to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and run a workshop for the Expanding Your Horizons conference to encourage women in STEM.
Octopus predatory behavior, spatial ecology, and their impact on abalone populations