Scientists try to understand how deep-sea octopuses choose habitat and prey

Understanding habitat selection is a key part of understanding a creature’s life history, according tomedia CNET. Due to the difficult nature of collecting and observing organisms in the deep sea, there is currently insufficient research on deep-sea octopuses. For example, how do octopuses prey? Biologist Abigail Pratt wanted to answer this question this week at the 2020 Marine Science Conference in San Diego, where she presented a preliminary study of why octopuses chose habitat.

Scientists try to understand how deep-sea octopuses choose habitat and prey

Habitat characterization will provide scientists with valuable information about their biology and predatory habits. By searching for undersea video footage collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s remote-controlled underwater vehicle, Pratt hopes to find out which features of the ocean floor are best suited for habitat. This includes whether they prefer hard or soft ground and whether to go to the underwater canyon or continental shelf. 

Pratt said that while the study provides a valuable benchmark for future habitat research, further analysis and a larger sample size are needed to determine which deep-sea conditions are best suited to these cephalopods.