What can octopuses do? Taste with their suckers. Camouflage with their surroundings. Unscrew a jar from the inside. Create fortresses of shells to protect their homes. Shoot clouds of ink. Re-grow their arms.
This week, scientists from Germany, Japan and the US have published the results of the very first sequence of an octopus’s genome — that of the California two-spot octopus. The team found much to wonder about the creature’s genes, including “hundreds of cephalopod-specific genes,” they write in the journal Nature — genes that regulate octopuses’ camouflage technique and rule the creatures’ complex nervous system, skin and suckers.
To celebrate this landmark scientific achievement, we’ve selected three talks that shed light on these amazing creatures and the watery world they inhabit. Watch them below:
Dynamic octopus camouflage — art, science, and technology | Roger Hanlon | TEDxWoodsHole
Roger Hanlon, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has spent years studying camouflage in cephalopods. At TEDxWoodsHole, he shares this research, paired with the study of human art.
The extreme life of the sea | Stephen Palumbi | TEDxStanford
Stephen Palumbi, director of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, studies the fastest, hottest, coldest and oldest species in the sea. At TEDxStanford, he gives us a look at their “extreme” lives.
No longer in the dark — the future of the deep oceans | Jon Copley | TEDxSouthamptonUniversity
At TEDxSouthamptonUniversity, marine ecologist Jon Copley shares stories from studying the ocean’s undersea vents and looking for deep-sea marine life.