Our goal is to develop a simple scalable imaging system and downstream computational tools for long-term time-lapse imaging of animal behavior in aquaria, focusing on the California Two-Spot Octopus, Octopus bimaculoides. The project brings together a team of twelve, with diverse expertise to engineer the system (currrently 21 tanks / 21 cameras / 21 octopus), perform experiments, and analyze data. Octopus and octocams are housed at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA United States. Octocam.io is where the public can learn details about the project and team, and keep up with things as experiments progress.
Eric EdsingerMBL Research Fellow
Eric Edsinger is a researcher at the Marine Biological Laboratory working on sequencing, imaging, and genetic tools in pygmy squid, pygmy octopus, and other cephalopods. Outside science, he rides outdated motorcycles, and walked over 2,000 miles as his commute to lab for a year. For Project Octocam, Eric is team cheerleader, brainstorming and managing the project in general, helping out when he can, but noticeably lacking raw talent when it comes to reading the tide tables and catching small crabs under big rocks.
Katie DeverMBL Animal Care Assistant
Katie Dever is an animal care assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory. She loves A-N-I-M-A-L-S, and cares for hundreds every day in the name of Science, with a keen sense of observation, patience (you can’t rush an octopus), and ingenuity. Outside science, she has an adorable gecko, a chubby tree frog, an electric blue crayfish, and a super soft rescue chinchilla, who lost all its toes and likes to roll in volcanic dust. For Project Octocam, Katie was fascinated by octopus personalities and, based on anecdotal observations over a year, wondered if early care might underly later behavior, a question that grew into Project Octocam, which she now guides and helps run.
Joy MiaoMBL Summer Intern
Joy Miao is a student at Wellesley High School. She loves Genetics, exploring Marine Biology, including dissecting squid and “discovering” neurons that trigger changes in skin color, and also learning to code Python and hack HTML for the Web. Outside science, she plays violin, loves wheel throwing, develops black and white pictures from her film photography, and dances Chinese folk dances. For Project Octocam, Joy drives creative design and building of the website (v1.0), assists in building the Octocam system, and chips in on collecting crabs and caring for octopus.
jonathan marvel-zuccolaMBL Summer Intern
Jonathan Marvel-Zuccola is a student at Beaver Country Day School. He loves Marine Biology and Bioinformatics, both learning and teaching it to others, and has an "infectious" excitement for viruses and most anything that captures his attention, in addition to a talent for hacking CSS and HTML files. Outside science, he plays bass, and loves classical music and sailing. For Project Octocam, Jonathan is lead in the collection of crabs and daily care of octopus, and assists in building both the Octocam system and the website.
Malaika CordeiroMBL Summer Intern
Malaika Cordeiro is a student at Roger Williams University. She loves Marine Biology, with a passion for all jellyfish great and small, and more recently understanding the fluid dynamics of movement in aquatic animals, including squid and pygmy squid hatchlings. Outside science, she plays guitar, writes, and loves learning new languages. For Project Octocam, Malaika helps in the design and building of the Octocam system, and often collects crabs at Stony Beach and cares for the octopus.
Peter NewsteinMBL Summer Intern
Peter Newstein is a student at Bowdoin College. He is fascinated and drawn to Neuroscience, and is now passionate about imaging, using cutting-edge microscopy tools and techniques to visualize the brain in squid hatchlings, in addition to coding Python for sequencing and imaging Bioinformatics. Outside science, he plays guitar, sails, and has mastered the Falmouth-Woods Hole drive-bike/bike-drive commute. For Project Octocam, Peter helped build the Octocam system, and lends a helping hand in collecting crabs and caring for octopus.
John carrMBL Seawater Mechanic
John Carr is a seawater mechanic and union delegate (Local 1199) at the Marine Biological Laboratory. He loves the unique engineering challenges offered by the diverse research projects he is brought into, and the greater context of science that his work enables. Outside science, he rides Harleys and is a lifelong musician, with mandolin covers of Guns and Roses today, and many punk and rock bands that were a part of Boston’s underground music scene in the 80s and 90s at legendary clubs, like the Rat. For Project Octocam, John designs, builds, or offers guidance on all things seawater, with sparks also flying on electrical systems.
Dan CalzaretteMBL Animal Care Technician
Dan Calzarette is an animal care technician at the Marine Biological Laboratory. He loves both the animals and the infrastructure that underlie research, particularly in the complex design, building, monitoring, and maintenance of aquaria systems in a major seawater facility, like the MBL’s Marine Resources Center. Outside science, you might find him around the corner working at local watering hole, The Captain Kidd, up in Canada fishing, or out in the ocean snorkeling. For Project Octocam, Dan helps in designing the Octocam system, particularly seawater and electrical systems, and in care of the octopus.
Jerome GirardMBL Controls Technician
Jerome Girard is a controls technician and master electrician at the Marine Biological Laboratory. He loves control and electrical systems, integrating function with a clean aesthetic, and combines vision with a mastery of good inexpensive electrical parts in his design. Outside science, he is part of a winning crew that races J109 sailboats in regional regattas, and long before he worked at the MBL, he would take his kids on sailing trips that included Woods Hole, with nights tied up in Eel Pond as one of their favorite spots. For Project Octocam, Jerome designs, builds, or offers guidance on all things electrical, with a splash of seawater systems expertise.
Greg GageBackyard Brains CEO
Greg Gage is co-founder and CEO of the popular science education company Backyard Brains. Greg loves distilling the essence of cutting-edge experiments, tools, and technologies in neuroscience and beyond, giving them a fun twist, if not turning things completely upside down and inside out, to make it all entertaining and educational for the public. Outside science, he enjoys fixing and riding his old dutch bike and giving piggyback rides to his 2 daughters. For Project Octocam, Greg is developing automated unsupervised machine learning methods for analyzing octopus and squid behavior. He is working with Backyard Brains summer interns Ilya Chugunov and Christy Warden on computational tools that will be adapted to Octocam data.
Brandon WeissbourdCalTech Postdoctoral Scholar
Brady Weissbourd is a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. He uses the jellyfish Clytia to study how neural systems generate animal behavior, and to that end is combining behavior analysis with the development of genetic tools to characterize and control their nervous system. Outside science, he plays basketball and volleyball, and has a range of hobbies - from making wine to gardening. For Project Octocam, Brady provides guidance in designing the Octocam system, with an eye towards behavior and downstream automated analysis of Octocam data.
Dave RemsenMBL Marine Resources Department Manager
Dave Remsen is manager of the Marine Resources Department at the Marine Biological Laboratory. He loves the diversity of life on Earth, and is part of the Catalogue of Life project, which seeks to provide a complete catalog of all species and make it accessible to the public, instilling a sense of history, wonder, and awe. Outside science, he keeps bees, but only the tough ones who can make it through a Cape Cod winter, and raises Northern Bobwhite quail, a species native to Cape Cod. For Project Octocam, Dave is a source of clever ideas, like using security cameras for hands-free 24-hour time-lapse imaging of aquaria, and has offered helpful support and encouragement from the inception of the project, including critical access to staff and resources of the MRC.
Funding for Project Octocam is through a grant from the Animal Welfare Institute.
Questions, comments, or suggestions on Project Octocam, Octocam.io, or cephalopods are WELCOME :)