I want to work with octopuses

Airin

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Hello,
I’m about to choose my university career and I‘m valuing psychology but I don’t know if that could lead me to study octopus behaviour. I would like to do investigation in the area of mind and conduct in different animals (etiology) -especially in octopus and other cephalpods- but I don’t know if this is the way. I have considered bioloby and so but as I said I’m more interested in behaviour nor than body functions, organs, etc. Also I don’t know if it’s possible to work in this without an specific career, because I’m interested in humanistic careers too.
Thank you
 

pkilian

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Good question! Animal behavior is totally a field of research that you can work in if you are interested. I think to keep your options open it would be best to focus on studying animal behavior as a whole, rather than focusing on one animal or one type of animal.

Some ways I know that people have gotten into doing animal behavior research:
1- You could study neurobiology of animals, I know it is more biology focused than psychology, but its a short step from studying the workings of the brain and neurons, to studying the behavior of the animal as a whole.

2- You could study animal husbandry, that's how I was introduced to the world of research. I gained expertise in a specific field (in my case, octopus husbandry) and then I was able to find a position in a research lab doing research on animal behavior. If you can develop excellence in a specific field of animal care, your skills will be valuable enough that a lab may want to hire you to take care of their research animals.

3- You could study psychology and hope to find work in a psychology research lab that does work with animals. This is probably the closest to what you outlined in your original post. I would do research on which labs do animal behavior research at the college you intend on attending. Send some emails to the professors in those labs asking about what kinds of research opportunities their labs offer. I would do some research on their lab and their labs work before contacting them, just to make sure you are informed about the kind of work they do.

Let me know if you have future questions!
 

Airin

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Thank you! I still have to think about, because I’m mostly interested in translations, but doing research as a second job or something like that would be great, so probably I could do a neurobiology or so career after! Do you think that I would be allowed to work with octopus having the translation career? I would like something like Sy Montgomery did, but I have no clue about how to archive it! Also I like Peter Godfrey-Smith’s job, and if I’m not wrong they didn’t have a science career (but I think that Montgomery has the psicology one).
 

pkilian

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I would assume it would probably be more difficult to get to work with octopuses as a translator, but you may be able to find work as a translator for marine documentaries or working in communications for a marine research institution or aquarium.

There are a lot of people who want to work with cool sea creatures, and most of the jobs available are geared towards research and husbandry, but that doesn't mean you can't find work in the marine science field without a background in science. I would reach out to a few local marine institutions and see what kinds of job positions they have for someone with your background, to give yourself a better idea of what jobs you may be able to look for after you graduate. Send emails to people like Sy and Peter (and I'm sure there are many others!) and ask what they did to get into working with marine animals without a background in the sciences. They may have more advice for you.
 

Airin

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I would assume it would probably be more difficult to get to work with octopuses as a translator, but you may be able to find work as a translator for marine documentaries or working in communications for a marine research institution or aquarium.

There are a lot of people who want to work with cool sea creatures, and most of the jobs available are geared towards research and husbandry, but that doesn't mean you can't find work in the marine science field without a background in science. I would reach out to a few local marine institutions and see what kinds of job positions they have for someone with your background, to give yourself a better idea of what jobs you may be able to look for after you graduate. Send emails to people like Sy and Peter (and I'm sure there are many others!) and ask what they did to get into working with marine animals without a background in the sciences. They may have more advice for you.
Thank you so much!!
 

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