Photo courtesy Passion Planet Ltd/Ernie Kovacs

The Alaska Octopus Project

Welcome to The giant Pacific octopus site, devoted to Enteroctopus dofleini, the giant Pacific octopus, in Alaska, where since 1995 I have been studying the ecology and behavior of these octopuses.

Octopuses are able to navigate complex mazes, use tools, learn from each other and solve all kinds of puzzles. Octopus behavior has gone viral on the internet, showcasing their escape artistry with their ability to camouflage and imitate surrounding objects. What is new in the world of octopus research is the extent to which these intelligent animals are individual personalities – able to recognize faces and to interact with other individuals – all of which are odd adaptations for an animal thought to live an asocial existence. PBS NATURE follows this new science through the story of a pet octopus named “Heidi” and her evolving relationship with marine biologist David Scheel and his teenage daughter. In this documentary and in his new book, Professor David Scheel of the Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage links his discoveries to octopus findings from all over the world and explores how we and a creature so different from us could have so much in common.

Many Things Under a Rock

The Mysteries of Octopuses

By David Scheel (Author), Laurel ‘Yoyo’ Scheel

A behavioral ecologist’s riveting account of his decades-long obsession with octopuses: his discoveries, adventures, and new scientific understanding of their behaviors.

For more information and links to purchase the book, please visit the publisher’s website:

Many Things Under a Rock Book Cover

About David Scheel, PH.D.

Professor of Marine Biology

My research focuses on predator-prey behavior and ecology, climate change, and habitat use; and I have worked primarily with octopuses for over twenty-five years, in Alaska and across the Pacific. I lived for a year with an octopus in my house while starring, with Heidi the Octopus and my daughter Laurel, in PBS’s Octopus: Making Contact  (BBC The Octopus in My House 2019).

Contact David Scheel

For more information about David’s book, research, or consulting services, please contact David.