Octopuses multiply while fisheries collapse, and coral reefs bleach
As many coral reefs are withering causing a loss of habitat for many fish, and as some fisheries virtually collapse, octopuses and other cephalopods are thriving.
|There are about 800 living species of cephalopods including squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish. All live in salt water. Some fishermen call them "inkfish" as most of them can eject what looks like ink as a means to hide themselves. An analysis just published in Current Biology shows that numerous cephalopod species have increased their numbers since 1950.|
“The consistency was the biggest surprise. Cephalopods are notoriously variable, and population abundance can fluctuate wildly, both within and among species. Cephalopods tend to boom and bust—they’re called the weeds of the sea.”Ironically the Australian study was begun after researchers were investigating a sudden crash in the population of the giant Australian cuttlefish.
“This is not a sensational ‘cephalopods are taking over the world’s oceans’ story.” Further climate change could have unpredictable effects, squeezing generation times to less than a year and throwing off some species’ annual mating gatherings in the process.There is evidence that there is increasing acidification of oceans. This could impair development of some cephalopods. As many species of fish become less available for eating, humans may come to eat more squid and octopuses. If cephalopods increase too much in an area they simply may run out of food. They are also cannibalistic which also helps areas becoming too overcrowded with them. As Doubleday puts it: “There’s always competition stabilizing things. I don’t know whether we’ll eat them first or they’ll start eating each other.”