The Crook Laboratory at San Francisco State University is located in the Biology Building (Hensill Hall). Our animals are maintained in semi-outdoor, naturalistic seawater systems, providing sunlight and a natural day/night cycle. In addition to our research animals, we also maintain a large colony of live, planktonic food species. 

Lab facilities include artificial seawater systems at three different temperatures (two tropical and one temperate), each with isolated tank zones for in situ behavioral studies. We have daylight, red-light and dark zones for behavior, and automated behavioural analysis software that tracks multiple animals.

Our electrophysiology facility includes one dedicated intracellular and two extracellular rigs. Desk space and computers are available for students to complete video and electrophysiology data analysis, and work on presentations and manuscripts.


Our facilities

General lab facilities

Our lab space contains areas for typical wet lab tasks - making solutions, preparing tissue samples, conducting behavioral studies and performing dissection. We have several work stations for image processing, video tracking and data analysis. We also have a fantastic mural of Octopus bimaculoides over our dissection bench, painted by one of our 2016 research students, Christina Lardie.


Tropical tank rooms

We have two tank rooms that house our tropical species - one enclosed with a glass roof, and one fully outdoor. These rooms house two independent, recirculating seawater systems. Our larger system is 600 US gallons (~2300 liters) and our smaller system is 450 US gallons (1700 liters). Each system is completely self-contained, with independent temperature control and filtration. We house our adult and hatchling bobtail squid in these tanks, and tanks can be converted with removable dividers and sub-enclosures to house tropical octopus species for short-term projects.

Within these systems we also keep our grass shrimp, our mysid breeding colony and a breeding population of copepods. Filtration is provided primarily by live rock and biological filtration media.


Temperate tank room

Our cold-water facility is still under construction. When complete it will house local Californian octopuses, Octopus bimaculoides, and their food species (shrimp and fiddler crabs).


Neurophysiology Room

This facility is shared with the Fuse Lab, another nociceptive physiology group here in the Biology Department.




This room contains three electrophysiology rigs - two for extracellular recordings, and one for intracellular (sharp electrode) recordings. 


The Physiologists' Lounge

Adjacent to our main lab space is the new Physiology Lounge. This private room is shared between several of the Physiology Group labs. It is a comfortable space for eating, drinking, studying and relaxing with other students and faculty in the Physiology Concentration.

Kitchen facilities include refrigerators, microwaves, toaster oven, a water filter and coffee makers. The lounge includes a conversation space with couches, a conference table with presentation area (whiteboard and projection screen), and study desks for physiology research students who need a quiet, comfortable place to work.