The Seattle Aquarium launched yearly giant Pacific octopus (GPO) surveys in 2000 in an attempt to answer a question often heard at the octopus exhibit: how many GPOs live in Puget Sound?
While there’s no way to determine the exact number, the surveys do provide a sense of overall population trends, and changes in where the animals are being found. If significant changes are noticed over several years, the information can be shared with government agencies and potentially lead to increased protections for these animals in the wild.
Our most recent survey, conducted by 49 volunteers and 11 Seattle Aquarium staff members in October 2018, revealed that 29 GPOs were spotted at 26 dive sites throughout Puget Sound. This annual effort wouldn’t be possible without help from the local dive community—we’re grateful for their longtime support.
*And, since GPOs have three hearts and each of their eight arms has approximately 200 suckers—29 octopuses equal 87 hearts, 232 arms and about 46,400 suckers. Check out our infograph and octopus fact sheet for details, and join us for Octopus Week to learn even more about these amazing animals!