Marine Reserves News: What Does Scientific Diving Take, New Research at Redfish Rocks, and More

A Deeper Dive

Marine Reserve Scientific Diving:
A Deeper Dive with the Oregon Coast Aquarium

SCUBA diver and algae

We’re excited to share this video produced by our research partners at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, giving us a look at all that goes into the marine reserve scientific dive surveys here in Oregon. The Aquarium’s Dive and Boat Safety Officer, Doug Batson, takes us behind the scenes and underwater to show us what training, equipment, and underwater conditions these divers undertake and contend with. You'll get a diver’s underwater view of the habitats, fish, invertebrates, and algae found below the ocean’s surface in Oregon’s marine reserves.

This 12 minute video is part of the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Deeper Dive series, highlighting a different animal or project at the Aquarium each month, followed by a Q&A session with Aquarium members.

Watch Video

Cape Falcon Management Plan

Cape Falcon Management Plan


The Cape Falcon Management Plan is now available. The Plan outlines the state’s marine reserve mandates and describes the management, outreach, and engagement strategies that have been developed for the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. These strategies were developed with assistance and collaboration from local community members, state and federal agencies, and other interested stakeholders. Thank you to everyone who provided comments on the draft plan.

Site management plans, developed for each of the Oregon marine reserve sites, can be used for:

  • Understanding the state’s mandates guiding the implementation of Oregon’s marine reserves and the ODFW Marine Reserves Program.
  • Seeing the state’s and the communities’ priorities for management of the site.
  • Seeing the management strategies ODFW is committed to carrying out for the site in support of scientific monitoring, keeping the public informed, engaging communities, compliance, and enforcement.
  • Understanding the local communities’ interests around additional activities and research, above and beyond what is carried out by ODFW.
Link to the Management Plan

How Do Fish and Crab Respond to Noise
from Seismic Surveys?

Researcher on the back deck of F/V Alice Faye preparing moorings with acoustic receivers

Photo: A researcher on the back deck of the F/V Alice Faye, organizing moorings and acoustic receivers that will be used to track marine species response to noise produced from an NSF geological seismic survey this summer.

New Collaborative Research at Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve

Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) are partnering with ODFW to study how marine species respond to a geological seismic survey being conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) this summer. The geological survey targets the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a megathrust fault off the Pacific Northwest where the Juan de Fuca plate and North American plate meet. The seismic survey is set to begin off the Oregon coast in June. The survey will use airguns to image the fault and learn more about its characteristics. While a great deal of research has focused on noise effects of these airguns on marine mammals, few studies have looked at fish responses and even fewer have looked at crustaceans, particularly in this part of the world.

Tagging Fish and Crab to Track Their Movements and Behavior

In response to the seismic survey and because marine species such as rockfish, lingcod, and crabs are important members of Oregon’s nearshore ecological communities and our culture, a collaborative research project was developed by OSU and ODFW. This project aims to study the response of fish and crabs to the noise generated from the seismic survey, and is focused on the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve (RRMR), which will receive three passes during the seismic survey. This location will allow for repetitive observations of animal responses to the airgun activity. Fish and crabs are being fitted with acoustic tags and their movements and behaviors tracked by acoustic receivers attached to moorings in the marine reserve. Oceanographic data such as temperature, salinity, and oxygen are also being collected by sensors attached to the moorings.

Grid of Acoustic Receivers Deployed at Redfish Rocks

Tagging a lingcod

In early May, the grid system of moorings with acoustic receivers was deployed with the help of local fishermen out of Port Orford. In addition, researchers and fishermen on the F/V Alice Faye worked collaboratively to catch and tag 15 each of China rockfish, Black rockfish, lingcod, and female Dungeness crabs. This allows for about 3 weeks of tracking their “normal” behavior before the airgun survey vessel gets to southern Oregon. The receivers will stay out through the completion of the airgun survey (July) and another month afterward to continue to monitor their movements. At the end of the summer, the receivers will be retrieved from RRMR, the data downloaded, and analysis will begin.

Stay tuned for updates on what fish and crabs are doing in RRMR normally and in response to this important geological survey.

Updates From the Field

May has been a busy month - balancing data analysis for the ODFW Marine Reserves Synthesis Report with preparations for fieldwork. Here’s what’s been happening in the field … 

Tagged Dungeness crab

Photo: Tags are glued to the backs of Dungeness crabs to track their movements in response to noise produced during an NSF geological seismic survey that will be conducted this summer.

Oceanography icon

Cape Falcon: We built oceanographic moorings to collect data on temperature, salinity, and oxygen to track changing ocean conditions. The moorings were deployed in the reserve and in the Cape Meares comparison area by our local collaborator, the F/V Lady Lee, out of Garibaldi.

Cascade Head: We built an oceanographic mooring and are scheduled to deploy it in early June.

Cape Perpetua: The OSU-PISCO oceanographic mooring was serviced this month which included downloading the data, cleaning the sensors, and refreshing the batteries. Data from this year show that this is the earliest spring transition/ upwelling season on record. OSU-PISCO researchers are predicting we may experience low oxygen levels this summer off the Oregon coast. Check out this KGW News article and interview with Dr. Francis Chan and hear how commercial crabbers are collaborating to collect additional dissolved oxygen data off Oregon.

Redfish Rocks: As part of the new collaborative research project between OSU and ODFW, to study fish and crab responses to noise generated from an NSF geological seismic survey this summer, our team added oceanographic sensors to the moorings that have been set up with acoustic receivers within the reserve.

Fishes icon

Otter Rock: Our research collaborators at OSU and the Oregon Coast Aquarium deployed SMURF moorings, for juvenile fish recruitment surveys, in the reserve and in the Cape Foulweather comparison area. We’ve also attached oceanographic sensors to the moorings to track temperature, salinity, and oxygen.

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