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Cephalopods Alert! Octopus, Squid Are Invading The Oceans Due To Population Boom

May 24, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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As marine life slowly die due to global warming, the octopus is doing the opposite, churning out an abnormally large number of offsprings.

According to Gizmodo, swarms of octopus are invading the ocean along with other cephalopods such as squids and cuttlefish. A study published in the journal Current Biology has revealed that the number of these species have increased dramatically since the 1950s.

“Our analyses showed that cephalopod abundance has increased since the 1950s, a result that was remarkably consistent across three distinct groups,” Zoë Doubleday, a researcher at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and School of Biological Sciences, said as quoted by News Discovery.

Tagged as "weeds of the sea," cephalopods' biological traits are different from other marine animals as they have rapid growth, short lifespan and flexible development. According to Doubleday, these innate characteristics allow cephalopods like octopuses to adapt seamlessly to a changing environment compared to other species.

The scientists analyzed global data of octopus, squid and cuttlefish, and discovered that these cephalopods' populations are increasing at great speed over the past six decades.

But what are the consequences of this imbalance between cephalopods and other marine life?

“The increase in abundance has significant and complex implications for both the marine food web and us," Doubleday said.

Doubleday also notes the possibility of these cephalopods to overpopulate the oceans, and, as a result, they might eat each other due to their "highly cannibalistic" characteristic.

Co-author Bronwyn Gillanders said that the reason for this rapid increase of cephalopods may be suggesting that mankind may have done something to trigger it such as overfishing of the said species or global warming. He said, "It is a difficult, but important question to answer, as it may tell us an even bigger story about how human activities are changing the ocean.”

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