These days, news about the world’s oceans is generally negative — global warming, carbon emissions, the impact of human waste, nuclear leakages, etc. It’s well known that warming ocean temperatures have devastating effects on coral reefs and life in those regions. Ocean acidification is contributing to the destruction of species with exoskeletons. But in a surprising turn of events, a study conducted by researchers in Australia found that cephalopods are increasing in number as opposed to decreasing like many other marine species.
Species including squids, cuttlefish, and octopus inhabit marine ecosystems from Australia and the U.S. to Morocco and Madagascar, according to the New York Times. And the study found that, on a large scale, the marine environment is changing to the advantage of the cephalopod. The study looked at historical catch rates for 35 cephalopod species, including the Japanese flying squid, the giant Pacific octopus and the common cuttlefish. All of their numbers are going up.
The scientists don’t know exactly why cephalopods are benefitting from the changing ocean while other species are unable to survive, but they speculate that overfishing of cephalopods’ predators and warming waters enabling better growing conditions could be two factors.