Roger Hanlon: Rapid Adaptive Camouflage and Signaling in Cephalopods

I. Concepts and Questions
II. Exploring Mechanisms of Visual Perception
III. Changeable Skin

Part III: Changeable Skin

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Lecture Overview
Hanlon introduces the amazing adaptive coloration of cephalopods. He uses video and still photography to showcase their ability to rapidly change color, pattern and skin texture with fine control and a diversity of appearances, to produce camouflage or to send signals. He argues that all camouflage patterns in nature can be grouped into three types. In part 2, Hanlon shows us results from his lab that make a convincing case that the rapid adaptive coloration of cephalopods is controlled by their visual system; quite impressive for a color-blind animal! Part 3 focuses on the unique skin of cephalopods including the system of pigments and reflectors that allows it to quickly change to any hue and contrast, and the papillae musculature that allows the skin to deform and create multiple 3D textures.

Speaker Bio
Dr. Hanlon’s career path seems to have been determined by fate; as a teenager scuba diving in Panama, he came across an octopus on a coral reef and he has been fascinated with them ever since.

Hanlon received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. He spent more than a decade at the Marine Biomedical Institute at the University of Texas Medical Branch before moving to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA in 1995. Hanlon was director of the Marine Resources Center at MBL for eight years. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist and his research lab continues to investigate the wonders of cephalopod camouflage.

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