If you’re the parent of a student in grade school or middle school, you’ve probably come across one or more of the 40 odd books featured in the Scientists in the Field series originated by Sy Montgomery, author of the best-selling Good, Good Pig (2006, Random House). The series is devoted to a broad spectrum of science-related subjects, including space exploration, ecology, physics and wide array of specific life forms.
In May, 2015, The Octopus Scientists will be released as a new addition to this popular and favorably-reviewed series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. Material for The Octopus Scientists comes from research on the foraging choices of octopuses (no, not “octopi”) from a 2013 expedition in Moorea, French Polynesia. Montgomery, a naturalist who writes about human-animal relationships, joined the expedition that developed out of a collaboration between Jennifer Mather from the University of Lethbridge in Canada, Tatiana Leite of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, Keely Langford from the Vancouver Aquarium and Alaska Pacific University (APU) Professor of Marine Biology, David Scheel.
“We first described aspects of [foraging] behavior, and second, asked why are octopus diets so diverse?” says Scheel.
The research questions, the four scientists, and their research form the material for this book that, like all books in the Scientists in the Field series,
… shows people immersed in the unpredictable and dynamic natural world, making science more accessible, relevant, and exciting to young readers. Far from the research laboratory, these books show firsthand adventures in the great outdoors—adventures with a purpose. From climbing into a snake den with thousands of slithering snakes to tracking wolves, swimming with hammerhead sharks, and collecting bugs, readers experience the thrill of discovering the unknown (www.sciencemeetsadventure.com).
The expedition gave Montgomery the opportunity to continue research for her book on octopus-human relationships, The Soul of an Octopus, which will also be published in May, 2015.