The giant Pacific octopus Web Page

Understanding the giant Pacific octopus in Prince William Sound, Alaska

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Gavin, a male Enteroctopus dofleini, bearing a sonic tag (red) beneath the skin.  Photo 26K
©2003 David Scheel
About this page

Welcome to The giant Pacific octopus site, devoted to Enteroctopus dofleini, the giant Pacific octopus, in Alaska, where since 1995 I have been studying the ecology and behavior of these octopuses.

The Menu (left) is the best way to navigate the site. For text-only viewers, the same choices are given below. Icons at the bottom right of each page will take you to
Octopus The Giant Octopus home (this page),
David Scheel Home page David Scheel's Home Page,
Alaska Pacific University Alaska Pacific University home page, or
Science Center PWS Science Center home page.

Enjoy your visit.

News links updated January 2016
ABC Ocean Mysteries (Hulu) airs 19 Mar | Episode preview (Jan 2016)
NPR Science Friday Send a message (Jan 2016)
(See the paper on Signal Use in Current Biology). Other coverage of this story: CBC News: Signals before battle | NPR Morning Edition | Scientific American | New Scientist | BBC News | Deutschlandfunk | Sciences et Avenir | Cosmos | Discovery News | ABC Australia | World Today | Newsweek | Guardian Australia | livescience | Motherboard | AAAS EurekAlert |

The Scene, Weather Channel Octopuses fight (Sep 2015)
All Things Considered, NPR Octopuses take up arms (Aug 2015)
The Colin McEnroe Show, NPR Smart as an octopus? (Aug 2015)
New Scientist Do octopuses use projectiles? (Aug 2015)
New York Times (July 2015): Evening Briefing (#12) | James Gorman's ScienceTake
National Geographic Wet & Wild (July 2015) Octopus Talk
In Prince William Sound (June 2015) Sea star wasting syndrome
Urban Marine Ecology (E. Heery)(April 2014) New Discoveries at the Seattle Workshop
Anchorage Daily News (June 2013) New Octopus? APU research finds new species
BBC Nature (April 2012) In pictures: Tracking secretive octopuses

News from Octopolis, on the blogs of Peter Godfrey-Smith. Updated January 2016
MetaZoan #33 Octopus Signals Octopus Signals.
MetaZoan #24 Octopus Genome Evolution of complex behavior.
MetaZoan #23 Cephalopod color update Light sensitive skin.
MetaZoan #15 Panopticon Collecting video data.
MetaZoan #10 A new Octopolis paper Octopus middens as habitat. Or directly go to the new paper in Scientia Marina (Abstract) | (pdf)
GiantCuttlefish #34 Intimidation Octopolis Wobbegong
GiantCuttlefish #33 Den discussion What octopuses collect
GiantCuttlefish #32 Housecats My Aug 2013 site visit
GiantCuttlefish #20 Letter from Octopolis Octopolis Collaboration

An Octopolis photograph helps identify stingarees, added Nov 2013
Kapala Stingaree Peter Godfrey-Smith takes excellent photos, and while I have been attempting to identify the numerous fish that frequent the Octopolis site, this one attracted the attention of the Australian Museum. The Museum has compiled an excellent site that has been very useful in identifying fishes on our Octopolis video.

YouTube video added Feb 2013
Surveying octopuses in the Aleutian Islands while collecting radionuclide samples as a member of the dive team with University of Alaska Fairbanks and the U.S. Department of Energy Legacy Management. For octopus diet data collected on this survey, see Scheel & Anderson 2012.

Most recent publications
D. Scheel. 2015. Sea-surface temperature used to predict the relative density of giant Pacific octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini) in intertidal habitats of Prince William Sound, Alaska. Marine and Freshwater Research. (Abstract) | (pdf): Open access

D. Scheel, P. Godfrey-Smith, M. Lawrence. 2014. Octopus tetricus (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) as an ecosystem engineer. Scientia Marina 78(4). (Abstract) | (pdf)

Mather, J., D. Scheel. 2014. Chapter 2: Behavior, pp. 17-39 in Cephalopod Culture. J. Iglesias, L. Fuentes & R. Villanueva (Eds.) Springer Netherlands. 494 p. (Abstract) | (pdf) | (Book preface, pdf) | (Book table of contents, pdf) | (Purchase book)

Hollenbeck, N., D. Scheel. 2012. Is there a previously unknown cryptic species of giant Pacific octopus in Prince William Sound, Alaska? American Malacological Society Newsletter Fall 2012 43(2): 7-9. (AMS Newsletters) | (pdf)

Scheel, D, R. Anderson. 2012. Variability in the regional diet specialization of Enteroctopus dofleini in the eastern Pacific examined from midden contents. American Malacological Bulletin 30(2): 267-279. (Abstract) | (pdf)

Scheel, D., L. Bisson 2012. Movement patterns of giant Pacific octopuses, Enteroctopus dofleini (Wülker, 1910) Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 416–417:21–31. (Abstract) | (Request pdf)

R.K. Toussaint, D. Scheel, G.K. Sage, and S.L. Talbot. 2012. Nuclear and mitochondrial markers reveal evidence for genetically segregated cryptic speciation in giant Pacific octopuses from Prince William Sound, Alaska. Conservation Genetics 13(6): 1483-1497. Abstract | (pdf)

Also see changes (Feb 2012) in Expedition Artists. And view Student octopus projects at Alaska Pacific University.

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In the news: [ Critter cam at Biosphere II | High Tech surveillance (pdf) ]
Anchorage Chronicle, [2 Dec 2003: Octopus in residence at APU]
Anchorage Daily News: [ 15-Jul-2001 Elusive Octopus | Often misunderstood ]
[ 24-July-99 Sucker for Jar lids | ADN | Single file | HTML only ]
Our television premier! Octopus Gone Wild
Octopus Project was featured in the premier episode of Fox Family Channel's new wildlife series World Gone Wild (premiered in October 1999).


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©2000 David Scheel (APU), ©1995-1999 David Scheel (PWSSC)