Aliens of the Sea: Filming CephalopodsLatest update October 25, 2018 Started on October 25, 2018
Cephalopods, such as cuttlefish, squid and octopus, belong with their alien-like appearance to the most popular animals for both scientists and SCUBA-divers. Since filming wild cephalopods, however, can be difficult to conduct due to the intricacies of their behaviour, this master's thesis aims at establishing new methods and techniques of capturing these animals in the wild. We believe that modern technology such as the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) may increase the chances of documenting behavioural aspects of wild cephalopods, compared to the widely used but rather expensive, time consuming and potentially disruptive SCUBA-diving approach.
Due to the diverse habitat and the rich array of cephalopod species in the North-East Atlantic, the Red Sea and the waters around Okinawa (Japan), these three locations have been chosen to explore and determine the benefits of ROVs for documenting cephalopods.
Cephalopods, such as cuttlefish, squid and octopus, are one of the most popular and interest-arousing groups of animals for both scientists and recreational divers. With an alien-like appearance, a remarkable cognitive capacity, unique anatomy and highly variable social dynamics and life styles, these animals have been part of multiple studies over the last decades. However, most of these studies have been done in laboratories, as systematic observations of wild cephalopods are rare and difficult to conduct. Striking differences in the behaviours of wild cephalopods can be observed, with some tending to be curious about divers, accepting them in their vicinity or even approaching them, whereas others avoid such contact and rather hide or escape. There is a growing body of literature based on occasional field observations of cephalopod behaviours, but the amount of such studies is still limited, and few final conclusions can be drawn. Hence, different methods and techniques for capturing video footage of cephalopods need to be established to further confirm those occasional observations.
The aim of this master’s thesis is to determine how to collect novel and quantitative wild observations using modern technology rather than expensive, time consuming and potentially disruptive SCUBA diving. The main aspect will be a comparison, both from a scientific and financial point of view, of a scuba-diving-operated approach versus the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to document cephalopod behaviour in the field. Different filming techniques will be evaluated in terms of feasibility and obtained results by using standardised methods. ROVs have been increasingly used for different marine approaches within the last few years and might potentially increase the chances of filming wild cephalopods as well. Due to the diverse habitat and the rich array of cephalopod species in the North-East Atlantic, the Red Sea and the waters around Okinawa (Japan), I have choosen these three locations to explore and determine the benefits of ROVs for documenting cephalopods. In summary, I hope to establish superior methods for filming difficult to observe cephalopods, which can later be used by the scientific community.
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