About the Class

Why is it that humans find cephalopods, specifically and especially octopuses, so fascinating to watch either on nature programs, documentaries, or live in person? Is it because they have 8 arms that are "independent"? Is it because they have blue colored blood, a sign of "royalty"? Is it because they are the most "intelligent" invertebrate? In the Pacific Northwest waters, there are three octopus species that have caught the attention of both scientists and students at the Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory (RBML) at Anacortes, WA. These are the Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), Ruby Octopus (Octopus rubescens) and the recently discovered Smooth Skin Octopus (Muusoctopus leioderma). We will explore what we know about the biology, ecology, and physiology of these fascinating "alien" life forms to try and gain a better understanding of these unique marine organisms.


Alan completed his post-doctoral at Oregon State University, PhD at Florida Institute of Technology, and both MS and BS at Walla Walla University, Washington. As the Diving Safety Officer, Alan oversees all aspects of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences-sponsored scientific diving program at MMA. Arguably, Alan has the greatest job at MMA teaching marine courses and he thoroughly enjoys conducting scientific diving as a marine biologist...so not only does he get to talk about the biology, ecology, and physiology of some very interesting marine animals but he also gets to dive while observing and studying them throughout the world!

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