Lowell Lecture

The Ocean’s Most Spectacular Color Change Artists

Date & Time

April 21, 2016 at 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.


IMAX Theater at New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110
Driving Directions


Roger T. Hanlon, PhD, Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole and Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University

Presenting Organization

New England Aquarium

Nature has evolved elegant solutions for manipulating ambient light to create patterns and coloration for a wide range of functions such as communication and camouflage. Nowhere is the diversity and speed of change in color patterning better developed than in the cephalopods (squid, octopus, cuttlefish). Using high-definition video and still photography, Dr. Roger Hanlon will illustrate the beauty and complexity of skin patterns that cephalopods and fishes use throughout the world’s oceans.

For their unique ability of “rapid adaptive coloration” Dr. Hanlon will introduce the audience to some gorgeous details of the skin of these animals – a rich array of pigments and reflectors that will make any artist envious. In that context, he works together with artists to try to understand how patterns and colors create such optical illusions that enable the soft-bodied cephalopods to deceive the visual capabilities of their many fish, bird and marine mammal predators. Throughout this presentation, he will emphasize the complex and often extravagant behaviors of these amazing oceanic animals.