Some Cephalopods Will Thrive in the Changing Climate

School of Squid

Generally the future of the ocean and its inhabitants, due to the climate crisis, doesn’t give us reason for optimism. But there seems to be hope for some cephalopod species to thrive.

There is some evidence that cephalopods are benefiting from the changing ocean due to the combination of ocean warming and overfishing their predators and competitors. Since the 1950s, the commercial catch of cephalopods has been increasing globally. This may be due to their life history which is to ‘live fast and die young,’ allowing them to adapt more quickly than fish species. Another reason for their success may be their inherent flexibility, which may be linked to cephalopods’ ability to make genetic changes using RNA editing. 

One way scientists try to predict how species will live under future ocean conditions is through lab experiments. Some species of squid will survive under even the worst-case ocean acidification scenarios, according to a new study published in 2019. Researchers found that when testing the swimming ability of two-toned pygmy squid and bigfin reef squid in high-acid seawater, which are projected end-of-century CO2 levels, the animals were not affected.