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A Cooperative Effort to Track the Humboldt Squid Invasion in Oregon (2012-14)
In 2008 and 2009, Jumbo (also known as Humboldt) squid began appearing in dramatic numbers off the Oregon Coast, considerably north of their historic range. Understanding the invasion and its potential role in ecosystem dynamics became a top priority for scientists, managers, and fishermen on our coast. This project will provide important information that can be combined with a growing body of research from California and Mexico. The species is also expanding southward into the upwelling systems of Chile, so this work has far reaching benefits. By working with local fishermen, we also encourage a spirit of collaboration and information exchange while working towards a common goal.
Dr. Heppell’s project has been mapping the distribution of catches of jumbo squid off the Oregon coast, seeking to identify correlations between squid catch and oceanographic variables, and to determine what the squid are eating as they pass through Oregon's offshore waters - particularly whether they're dining on fished species such as hake and salmon. This project will contribute to our understanding of why the squid are expanding their range, and how that will affect local fisheries. The project will also promote conservation, education and stewardship of fisheries through collaborative research, and increase public awareness of changes affecting our ocean ecosystems.