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Nat Geo's Octopus Secret: Dr. Alex Schnell

Nat Geo's Octopus Secret: Dr. Alex Schnell


Photo from Disney+

As we celebrate Earth Day 2024, Innovation & Tech Today recognizes the impact technology has on Earth science. National Geographic's latest series, “Secrets of the Octopus,” serves as evidence of remarkable innovation at work.

Dr. Alex Schnell is a key figure in an upcoming Nat Geo documentary series. Her academic research and her past collaborative projects make Dr. Schnell the perfect person to unravel the complexities of marine animal intelligence and octopus cognition, empathy, and sympathy.

Innovation & Tech Today spoke with Dr. Schnell ahead of the release of Secrets of the Octopus to discuss recent innovations that have greatly advanced marine biology, and the engineers who are driving positive change in celebration of Earth Day. We talked about roles etc.

Today's Innovations and Technology: Can you give an example of an innovation that has significantly advanced our understanding of marine biology in recent years?

What Leonardo da Vinci has to say about trending STEM and STEAM Photo via Disney+

Dr. Alex Schnell: An important tool that has advanced our understanding of marine biology is electronic tags. These tags track the movements of marine animals, revealing data about their migration patterns, feeding behavior, and energy use. In addition, underwater “life cameras” attached to animals provide direct visual insight into their underwater behavior and environment, increasing our understanding of their daily lives and interactions.

I&T Today: As we celebrate Earth Day, what role does technology play in driving positive change?

Dr. Schnell: Given our relationship with the Earth, technology plays an important role in bringing about positive changes in marine ecosystems through several ways.

Photo from Disney+

(i) Monitoring and data analysis: Technologies such as satellites and AI can help monitor and analyze the marine environment, helping in conservation efforts and resource management.

(ii) Pollution management: Innovative tools such as AI-powered machine learning and satellite imagery to detect plastic debris in the ocean and support targeted clean-up efforts.

(iii) Sustainable practices: Technologies such as blockchain enhance traceability in seafood supply chains and promote sustainable fishing.

(iv) Public engagement: Digital platforms and virtual reality increase public awareness and participation in marine conservation.

I&T Today: What's the most surprising thing people might learn about octopuses from “Octopus Secrets”?

Dr. Schnell: Octopuses are very strange creatures. They could star in a science fiction series with boneless bodies, three hearts pumping blue blood, and skin that changes shape and color on a whim. But within this framework of strangeness, they demonstrate brilliance in problem-solving and memory, prompting us to rethink the nature of intelligence.

I&T Today: How can everyday technology such as social media and other apps help spread awareness about ocean conservation?

Dr. Schnell: Everyday technology, especially social media, plays a vital role in spreading awareness about ocean conservation. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube allow organizations, researchers, and enthusiasts to share information, images, and videos that highlight the beauty and complexity of marine life and the threats it faces. Masu. This widespread sharing motivates audiences around the world to care about conservation and take action.

Photo from Disney+

A great example is Octonation, the world's largest taco fan club with over 1 million subscribers. Through its social media presence, Octonation engages a wide audience by sharing interesting facts, captivating photos, and videos about octopuses. By educating people about octopus intelligence and behavior, Octonation helps foster a deeper appreciation for and interest in these amazing creatures. This increased awareness and connection motivates individuals to support or initiate conservation efforts.

I&T Today: Looking ahead, what are your hopes for the future of technology in marine biology research and storytelling?

Dr. Schnell: Looking ahead, the possibilities for future technologies in marine biological research and storytelling are incredibly exciting. To be honest, this field is evolving so rapidly that it's difficult to predict exactly what tools will be developed next.

Photo from Disney+

We are constantly amazed by the innovative technologies we have access to today. For example, I'm part of a team supported by the Nat Geo Society that is developing a robotic fish that mimics coral trout. The robot is designed to help study the joint hunting behavior of octopuses and coral trout. Integrating such technology allows for precise control over one of the hunting partners and provides detailed information about these interactions without the complexity of analyzing two live animals. You will be able to glean valuable insights.

This level of detail has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of collaboration in the maritime world and enhance our storytelling abilities by providing clearer, more comprehensive narratives.

Watch the secrets of the octopus on National Geographic on April 21 at 8:07am. All episodes will stream on Disney+ on April 22nd.




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