A journey around octopus ‘plasticity’, research on its cognitive capagilities and possible future avenues

Cephalopod Molluscs – cuttlefish, squid and octopus in particular – provide fascinating cases for studying biological, neural and behavioral plasticity.
I will surf around some of the most recent interesting findings including genomes, the role of extraocular photoreceptors in light-activated chromatophore expansion, RNA-editing capabilities, “semantically complex” communication patterns, flexibility in predatory behavior.

I will focus on octopus, as a way to explore i. organization of ‘brains’ in cephalopods and their complexity; ii. neural cell numbers and their variations among individuals; iii. the neural plasticity and underlying molecular fingerprint; iv. marked inter-individual variability in behavioral performances arising through the reciprocal influence of environmental and behavioural factors; v. sentience and ‘consciousness’.
Exploring the biological plasticity in cephalopods may help to study modular organization of the brain and its evolution, orchestration of neuromodulators (single cells sequencing recent approaches may be one example), cross-modality, and central vs periphery (what this ‘means’ for cephalopod/mollusc nervous systems).
My ultimate goal is to stimulate discussion around future efforts and possibly facilitating further some unexplored research avenues.