A giant Pacific octopus shows its colors at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium)

While other octopus books study the animal’s behavior in aquaria or tropical waters worldwide, Dr. David Scheel, a professor of Marine Biology at Alaska Pacific University, takes a unique approach in his first book, Many Things Under a Rock. He travels to extreme places in the Pacific Northwest where one may not expect these creatures to live, but they have for approximately 330 million years

“I think it is a little surprising to some people that octopuses live in cold water,” Scheel told Ars. “It might be because we’re used to seeing them in aquariums, and we think of aquariums as tropical locations, although you can run cold water aquariums as well.”

Personal experience

In Many Things Under a Rock, Scheel regales the reader with anecdotes of his time researching cephalopods in Alaska and Canada. From yearly tracking of octopus dens to discovering new octopus “cities,” Scheel’s chapters give engaging and informative stories on marine biology. Between these chapters are Indigenous stories about octopuses in the Pacific Northwest, revealing their influence on the area’s native tribes.

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