Research Highlights | Published:

Population ecology

A boom in octopuses and cuttlefish

Nature volume 534, page 8 (02 June 2016) | Download Citation


Cephalopods, such as squid, cuttlefish and octopuses, may be benefiting from changes to their environment.

Image: Gerard Lacz/REX/Shutterstock

Zoë Doubleday and Bronwyn Gillanders at the University of Adelaide in Australia and their colleagues compiled data from fisheries and scientific marine surveys on global cephalopod catch rates since 1953. They found that cephalopod populations (pictured is a Sepia cuttlefish species) have increased significantly over the past 60 years across some 35 species with different lifestyles, such as ones that live on the sea floor and in the open ocean.

Cephalopods have short lifespans, rapid growth rates and are highly adaptable, which in changing conditions (such as ocean warming) could give them an advantage over slower-growing organisms, the authors say. The cephalopod boom, however, could have damaging effects on their prey populations, such as certain fish and marine invertebrates.

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