Ceph Research Tanks | The Octopus News Magazine Online
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Ceph Research Tanks

OutlawBoater92

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#1
Hello to everyone, I apologize for the long lag...

Many of you were so generously willing to provide your aquaculture insights and opinions on a potential thesis project involving cephalopods taking place next year here at Middlebury College. I just wanted to report back and thank everyone again for their support and knowledge! Since our last post, we've put together two 125 gallon tanks, a 75 gallon sump, that includes multiple filter pads, activated carbon filtration, and a terminator II "in sump" protein skimmer. We're running around 2400 GPH back up to the tanks (probably more like 21-2000 if I understand the "leveling-off" behavior of pumps. After spending the better part of 2 weeks fighting with the PVC monster, we've managed to build a system I feel can support life...(knock on wood). Anyways, after around 150 lbs of live sand and ~4 boxes of live rock, here we are, sitting somewhere between the ammonia spike and our completion of the nitrogen cycle. The tanks have been up and running smoothly (knock on wood...again) for around 3 weeks now. I'll send some pictures along once I have time to sort through and compress their massive filesize..We've fabricated plastic partitions that will be permeable to the water, but not allow our eight-legged friends to pass through (knock on wood ^2). While our final ceph-proofing stage is yet to be completed (college living is way easier in the summer), we're expecting to get our first animals in mid-late July/early August.
Now that we really need to get our acts together and hit the primary literature, I was just wondering if any TONMO'rs knew of any current research that might be interested in some collaborative work, or if any researchers out there had any insight into our species choice. I just got off the phone with the nice people at the NRCC, and they mentioned that very little work has been done on a hobby-favorite cuttlefish (species name escaping me right now), and that these seem to be more "consistent" than octo's....should we consider working with these guys as opposed to the Bimac's we're currently aiming for? Willing and erudite researchers, any words of wisdom before we place orders for live animals this summer?

Thanks so much for all of your help, this project wouldn't be possible without TONMO!
-Carey
 

DWhatley

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#2
Carey,
I suspect choosing cuttles over octos would depend a great deal on what you want from your experimentation. I have not read about any intelligence oriented training with the cuttles, only acknowledged familiarity (which many fish will display, including seahorses). Studying and decoding mating habits, on the other hand (especially with the larger species) would point to the cuttles hands down over the octos. If you chose the larger Sepia officinalis you may want to do some reading on how to arrange and bumper your tank to minimize flight damage to the critters.
 

monty

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#3
dwhatley;95131 said:
Carey,
I suspect choosing cuttles over octos would depend a great deal on what you want from your experimentation. I have not read about any intelligence oriented training with the cuttles, only acknowledged familiarity (which many fish will display, including seahorses). Studying and decoding mating habits, on the other hand (especially with the larger species) would point to the cuttles hands down over the octos. If you chose the larger Sepia officinalis you may want to do some reading on how to arrange and bumper your tank to minimize flight damage to the critters.
Hanlon & Messenger actually discuss a lot of behavioral experiments with cuttles, but it's largely with officinalis and from what I recall relatively little has been done in bandensis. One of the recent documentaries, "Kings of Camouflage," (transcript at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3404_camo.html ), had a psychology researcher named Jean Boal explain that she prefers cuttles to octos for her behavioral studies.

I would highly recommend Hanlon & Messenger as a good starting point for octo or cuttle behavior, and then follow up in the literature (cephbase and google scholar are helpful).

Robyn also gave tantalizing hints on her nautilus behavioral studies, I bet she has some good ideas, too.
 

DWhatley

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#4
BTW that expensive and excellent Hanlon and Messenger book Monty often references is: Cephalopod Behaviour (no that is NOT a misspelling it is from the UK :wink: )

The NOVA show went a long way toward introducing Neal (spouse) to the cuttle and he is now convinced we need another large tank :sagrin:
 

Major Mess

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Apr 15, 2007
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#5
Hello

Jennifer Mather is another very good scientist, working with cephs and their behaviour.

What do you want to do with your cephs btw?
I can´t find any infos at www.middlebury.edu (right adress?), is there more research going on at your lab?

Greetings
Jonas
 

Major Mess

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#6
P.S.: Ooops, okay there is a "Find more posts" button! But anyway, you should think of a more precise research question and then see, what kind of animal is fitting your question. I think it´s not a good idea to take the easiest to keep animal.
 

OutlawBoater92

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Sep 27, 2006
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#8
Everyone who has been so generous to (again) reply,

If I had to guess right now what type of research we're going to be delving into, I could categorize it as some form of behavioral studies that look at communitive learning and the "key" features that bimacs focus on when performing tasks that require higher levels of cognition. To be completely honest, myself and my lab partner (there are only two of us, we've secured an unclaimed room in the science building and named it the college ceph lab) haven't had a chance to do some hardcore primary literature scouring yet due to other obligations (ie, organic chemistry) and class schedules. http://www.middlebury.edu is our school's page, but our "lab" in particular is more of a DIY project based on undergraduate grants and two bio/neuroscience types' growing interest.
From our brief searches on pubmed and web of science, it seems like people have done some really interesting things with the octopus learning pathway and started soe really interesting research that could have implications for human pathophysiology (Long way off, I know). Given our relatively short time span (1 year), we've decided to hopefully further established research and hopefully confirm previous suspicions or add another piece to the cephalopod puzzle.
It sounds like people generally feel that the bimac would be a better choice for these types of studies, and going into this that's exactly what we thought as well. We're just interested in the cuttles because (well, they're WAY cool) it sounds like they remain relatively undescribed by science and as was mentioned Dr. Bool (via NRCC suggestion) seems to prefer them in her studies. I really have zero experience with cephalopods beyond public aquarium sightings, and we're planning on getting some animals by late July-early August to see what we can and can't reasonably accomplish within a year. As soon as we're out of exams, I plan on taking a week and making some serious literature visits and potentially making phone calls to make cephy connections and get a better feel for what people are looking into out there!

I promise pictures are in the works, none of this project would be at all possible without the support of TONMO! Please feel free to direct any questions/comments/"no, do it this ways" my way!
-Carey
 

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