Dr. David Scheel is the author of the just-released MANY THINGS UNDER A ROCK: The Mysteries of Octopuses [W. W. Norton & Company, June 13, 2023]. The book is a fascinating collection of stories about octopuses – old fables, amazing stories, extraordinary findings by other researchers, and his own extensive underwater research experiences. Dr. Scheel is a field-oriented ecologist with experience in remote and wilderness settings in Africa and Alaska. He joined Alaska Pacific University in 2000 and teaches courses in marine biology, aquarium husbandry, and animal behavior.
David was educated in biology, animal behavior, and ecology; and trained in the field in places such as Yellowstone National Park, Serengeti NP in Tanzania, and many sites around Alaska. He lived with African lions and wild dogs for two years in the Serengeti, researching lion-hunting behavior. He began working with marine predators in 1993. In his marine research, he has worked with fisheries, marine birds and mammals, and marine invertebrates in Prince William Sound and the northern Gulf of Alaska.
David specializes in the ecology and evolution of predator-prey relations and habitat use; and he has conducted theoretical, field, and laboratory studies in this area. His interests include the theory and philosophy of evolution, the evolution of consciousness, animal behavior, predator-prey ecology, ecology of social predators, and cephalopod biology. His research since 1995 examines the biology of the Giant Pacific Octopus and includes field studies in Prince William Sound conducted in the intertidal, by SCUBA diving, and by submersible. The octopus studies also brought David to Tatitlek, Chenega Bay, and Port Graham villages, where he worked with Native Alaskans to improve his understanding of octopus ecology through traditional ecological knowledge. With his students, David has discovered a new octopus species in Alaskan waters. He collaborates on behavioral studies of octopuses in Mo’orea and Australia.
David is an NAUI-certified Rescue Diver and AAUS Scientific Diver, an aquarium enthusiast, and a wildlife photographer. He has two daughters.
In MANY THINGS UNDER A ROCK: The Mysteries of Octopuses [W. W. Norton & Company, June 13, 2023] Dr. Scheel shares his research, as well as that of other marine biologists, to show us much of what has been learned—and remains to be understood—about these fascinating sea creatures. As he explains, more than 300 different species of octopuses exist, yet their elusive behavior and the changing nature of their appearance make them difficult to locate, identify, and study.