The Octopus Garden OverviewTeamTechnologies Thousands of octopus (Muusoctopus robustus) discovered recently at the base of Davidson Seamount migrate to deep-sea hydrothermal springs to breed. In what is the largest known aggregation of octopus on Earth, 6000 to as many as 25000 M. robustus gather at this “Octopus Garden” on a small hillock at a depth of 3200 m (2 miles) to mate, brood clutches of eggs, and die. What about these hydrothermal springs has led to these breeding aggregations? Is it easier to find a mate, or is the benefit from the warm (~5-10 oC; 40-50 oF)? Deep-sea octopuses are ectotherms (cold-blooded) and the cold waters of the deep-sea slow their metabolism as well as the rate of embryonic development. Thus, most deep-sea octopuses have very slow incubation periods compared to their relatives inhabiting shallow warmer waters. At the near freezing temperatures of the abyss, warmth from hydrothermal springs will increase their metabolism and may shorten incubation times, to some advantage for the brooding octopus moms. We’ve been studying the behavior of octopus at the Octopus Garden in relation to the conditions found in the nests. Over repeated visits, we’ve identified individual females sitting on nests for years at a time. Many questions remain, from what advantage individuals breeding in these hydrothermal springs have over those that breed elsewhere, to how common such hydrothermal springs are in deep waters. Many ectotherms could benefit from elevated metabolism near localized deep-sea heat sources like these hydrothermal springs. Related ProjectsLow Altitude Survey System Team Directory James Barry Senior Scientist & Benthic Ecologist Principal Investigator Steve Litvin Senior Research Specialist Chris Lovera Research Specialist Fanny Girard Postdoctoral Fellow Sebastian Sudek Research Specialist Seafloor Mapping Lab Dave Caress Principal Engineer Jennifer B. Paduan Senior Research Specialist Publications All Publications Sorry, no results were found. Latest News All News Sorry, no results were found. Technologies All Technologies Vehicle, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), Dorado Class Seafloor Mapping AUV Technology Seafloor Mapping AUV The Dorado class autonomous underwater vehicles are optimized for meter-scale seafloor mapping. Data All Data Sorry, no results were found.