Cephalopod links for your busy lifestyle

Ok, ok, it’s really more about my busy lifestyle. I’ve no time for a proper post today (I’ve got a Hindi exam tonight, and a pharmacology exam to study for,) so I thought I’d at least bring you some ceph-related Monday reading. There’s a bunch of cephalopod-ey topics getting talked about on the web these days:

You may have heard about some recent research on how noise can damage cephalopods’ statocysts (organs they use for balance and possibly hearing.) In case you weren’t convinced that oil harvesting was killing the ocean, this research has now been cited to argue that seismic surveying (the use of noises reflected off of the sea floor to figure out what is on/in the sea floor) by oil companies kills sea life.

In Detroit (where my wife and I will soon be living,) it is a tradition to throw (dead) octopuses onto the hockey rink whenever the local team, the Redwings, plays. The NHL doesn’t like this practice (citing variously danger to players from debris on the ice, a lack of professionalism, and other reasons.) Last Tuesday, a dude was arrested and fined for disorderly conduct for chucking a ceph at a Redwings game and (more interestingly), is ready to fight for what he sees as his cultural heritage:

“I pleaded not guilty, of course,” Graves said. “I’m going to fight for this tradition. And so, I have to come back in July for a trial, and I’ll be lawyered up.”

(As an aside, can you guess what fans of the San Jose Sharks throw on the ice? You guessed it.)

A lot of the recent interest in cephalopods is due to their skin; the US military (naturally) would love to figure out how to mimic its ability to change color at will. Towards this end, they’ve given a $6 million dollar grant to a group of researchers (including Roger Hanlon, a long-time cephalopod researcher) to figure out how cephalopods work their color-changing magic and then figure out how to mimic it. Besides the obvious military applications, though, there are other possible spin-offs, Hanlon said in an interview

“Some (of the applications) are as simple as heating and cooling things by absorbing or reflecting radiation,” he said. “Detroit can make cars that change color; fashion designers can make dresses that change pattern — highlight of the cocktail party!”

(Danna Staaf has a great piece up about squid skin; it’s well worth your time to check out.)

A movie about a giant squid is one of six science-based films to receive funding at the Tribeca Film Festival.

On the trail of science-based management of commercial squid fishing, scientist Teresa Johnson talks about how scientists and fishermen should work together.

Finally, there will be live squids aboard the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavor. Read Danna’s great write-up of this story over at Squid-a-Day.

Man, all that reading was hard. Let’s look at something cute:

(This digging behavior, by the way, seems to one of the few fixed action pattern-like behaviors seen in cephalopods – source)

Thanks for reading!


  1. tonmo says:

    …and in conclusion, TONMO.com. :-p

  2. Danna Staaf says:

    Oh man that is some serious adorable happening right there. My favorite moment is about 0:35 when two little arms pop out of the hole. Squee! And thanks for the link love. =)

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