Example Schedule:

Work Type Description

Week 1

Camouflage tactics and visual control of dynamic change.

Lecture/ Discussion

An overview of the big picture of camouflage and in depth of Didactic defensive behavior starting with ecology, tactics, etc. Evolution, predator-prey sensory capabilities, pattern design, types of camouflage, inspection of field video to frame lab experiments.


Lab demos of cuttlefish behavioral testing paradigm. Initial development of basic questions for 2 week-long projects.

Team building

Organize teams and flush out/begin experimental projects to test what patterns cuttlefish deploy on different visual backgrounds.

Visual perception & psychophysics

Introduce cuttlefish as a model system. Introduce natural backgrounds. Charles Chubb, UC Irvine (long-time Hanlon collaborator) introduces psychophysics approach to visual perception. Students begin wet lab behavioral projects: they choose and test patterns to stimulate cuttlefish camouflage with precision.

Week 2

Dynamic camouflage experiments.

Wet lab

Students concentrate on wet lab experimental projects on cuttlefish from Week 1. Teams work on different stimuli and may also test visual perception of neural control of physical 3D skin papillae.

Week 3

Detailed studies and experiments on mechanisms of skin patterning


Trevor Wardill, U Minn, teams with Steve Senft and R. Hanlon to introduce the dermal pigments and reflectors that create the colorful skin patterns. General morphology and optical physics of color.


Extensive lab demos of different neurotransmitters that affect chromatophores and iridophores in squids.

Student Projects

Student projects with neurotransmitters and extracellular stimulation of squid skin to elucidate activation and inhibition of pigmentary and structural coloration in different dermal layers.


Presentation of projects by students.