Science Above and Below the Water

Take a Deeper Dive

There’s More Beneath the Surface

Research in the Reserve

To measure the impact of the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, the Collaborative relies on the ODFW Marine Reserve Program as they gather baseline data. This program uses different monitoring tools tailored to each of Oregon’s marine reserves based on the reserve’s size, habitats, depths, prior fishing activities, and other unique characteristics of each reserve.

The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve has a deep, isolated rocky reef unique to this area where most regional habitats consist of sand and gravel. There is no rocky reef habitat at a similar depth, oceanographic conditions, and fishing pressure anywhere nearby.

The Science

The ODFW Marine Reserve program aims to look at how Cape Perpetua’s isolated rocky reef community as well as similar, shallower habitats near the reserve change over time. By doing this, they will be able to compare these two locations and see how the marine reserve’s regulations impact its ecosystem.

Harvest Restrictions Began

January 1, 2014

Monitoring Began



Reserve: 37 sq km (14.3 sq mi)
MPAs: 49 sq km (19 sq mi)

Depth Range

0-55 m (0-164 ft)


Mostly soft bottom habitats. Small, low-relief, isolated rocky reef in deeper water. Rocky intertidal habitats.

Habitat Connectivity

Isolated rocky reef entirely contained within the reserve.

Prior Fishing Pressure

Relatively moderate fishing pressure on groundfish in rocky reef habitats. Relatively high fishing pressure on crab in soft bottom habitats.

Monitoring Comparison Areas

Seal Rock and Tokatee

Due to its unique habitat, the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve is a hotspot for biodiversity, making it an excellent place to research many species. Scientists from Oregon State University (OSU), PISCO, and ODFW Marine Program have been monitoring intertidal species while conducting oceanography, hypoxia, and ocean acidification studies since the early 2000s.

Learn more about the research and science here.

Interested? Many research projects in and around the reserve rely on help from citizen scientists like you. Get Involved and join our Newsletter to hear more about the Collaborative’s efforts.

The Impact

Highlights from Cape Perpetua Ecological Monitoring

Research Tools


Learn more about exciting volunteer opportunities, events, and current research at Cape Perpetua through our quarterly newsletter!

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