NewsProtecting Paradise


Meet 'Octo Girl' the FAU researcher studying the octopus

Posted at 9:38 AM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 19:07:55-04

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If you're a diver you know trying to find and actually see an octopus can take months or even years. However, a South Florida researcher has made it her mission to bring as much knowledge of these creatures as she can to the surface.

“It’s a small world for octopus researchers, there's only a few of us in Florida,” says Chelsea Bennice.

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The 33-year-old has been diving for ten years studying the octopus and she knows exactly where to find them.

“Underwater in the Blue Heron Bridge is my happy place, I'm really excited to be in the water," Bennice says.

The FAU researcher has been honing her skills lately, getting closer and closer to this mysterious marine animal. Their complex behavior pattern intrigues her the most. And it’s about to get even more perplexing. She eventually wants to swab their skin to see if the octopus has a unique set of bacteria that shields them from infection.

From countless dives in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Florida, Bennice has the experience, the research and the backing of the community. And a few tips on where you can find them.

“If you see a small opening or if you see a rock, look underneath the rock because octopuses like to dig out sand and make a crevices. They also scatter their prey remains around their den,” says Bennice.

From her perspective looking up, the sky's the limit. How fortunate we are to have this researcher in our backyard protecting our paradise and giving us a glimpse into the unknown world of the octopus.

“The goal is to use this research for generations to come," Bennice says.

You can follow Chelsea Bennice, who goes by Octo Girl, on Facebook.

Her Instagram accounthas numerous pictures from her years diving and that can be found @theoctogirl.