Sea Star Data Shines

Making historical data sets available to the world is one of the many ways the Stanford Digital Repository is promoting data preservation and sharing. This Deposit of the Week from Hopkins Marine Station is a perfect example of that.

Pisaster ochraceus -- the ochre sea star -- lives along the rocky coast of Central California and the Hopkins Marine Life Refuge. Studies of the ochre sea star population over time help scientists better understand what is happening to the population and how outside forces like the reintroduction of a possible predator or local environmental changes can affect it.

This deposit shares data from what may be the only long-term study of ochre sea star size and their primary prey, mussels. This study also includes information about population numbers, which is a more common subject of sea star studies.

The original data in this study was collected at Point Cabrillo by a graduate student, Howard Feder, back in 1954 and 1955. Other researchers at the Marine Life Observatory then resurveyed the same study areas in 1986, 1996-1997, 2001, 2004-2006, and 2010.

All of the data from this over 50-year span of time is now available from this PURL page in the Stanford Digital Repository. Images of the study sites are included as well.

The preservation and sharing of the historical data in this long-term study is win for both the SDR and researchers in marine biology!

This Data Story was written by Amy Hodge.

Find out more about the data featured in this Data Story.