Quirks & Quarks

Squid and octopus thrive in changing oceans

Cephalopods, due to their rapid growth, short lives, and flexibility, seem to be winners in the changing ocean environment.

Populations of these adaptable animals are growing, unlike most other ocean species

Australian Giant Cuttlefish (Sylke Rohrlach, cc-by-sa-2.0)
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In 2013, scientists were concerned about an iconic population of giant cuttlefish in Australia's Spencer Gulf. Dr. Zoe Doubleday, a Research Fellow from The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and her colleagues, decided to take stock of populations of the cuttlefish and other cephalopods, including squid and octopus, using 60 years of data from around the world. 

They were surprised to discover that cephalopod populations were actually increasing worldwide, including the cuttlefish group that prompted the study.

The researchers believe that several biological traits of cephalopods, including their rapid growth, short lifespan and flexible development, make them more adaptable to today's changing oceans.

Related Links

Paper in Current Biology
University of Adelaide release
ABC News story 
Science news story
New York Times story
The Atlantic story