Humboldt Squid May Become Easy Calamari Thanks to Climate Change
A mini-documentary on the Humboldt Squid
Humbolt Squid May Become Easy Calamari Thanks to Climate ChangeJust last year we talked about the invasion of Humboldt squid off the California coasts. Over the past 17 years, the aggressive predator has expanded its happy hunting ground and is munching up sea life found in colder waters than it usually inhabits.
However, with global climate change, the hunter might find itself more often playing the role of the hunted. According to a report from the Guardian :
As human activities increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the level in the oceans also rise. Scientists believe this will make the squid lethargic, and so less able to outswim their own predators, including sperm whales that feed heavily on the creatures.
The Humboldt squid can dive to oxygen-deprived depths during the day to hunt because it can slow its metabolism way down so it doesn’t need as much oxygen. However, it then has to return to the surface to recover.
Researchers experimented by putting Humboldt squids in tanks that simulated expected CO2 levels in ocean environments an saw that the animals slowed their metabolism by 30% and were about half as active. That makes them ripe for the picking by their predators.
[Rui Rosa at the University of Lisbon] said more acidic waters will also constrict the habitat of the Humboldt squid, by making them less able to hunt at depth, or in surface waters, which could have serious knock-on effects for the wider marine ecosystem.
"These squid will probably have to migrate to find more suitable waters, and since they are the main prey for sperm whales, that could significantly alter the marine foodweb," Rosa said.
More evidence that global climate change is no joke, and has far-reaching implications.
Via the GuardianMore on Marine Life and Climate Change:Climate Change Will Make North Atlantic Invasion by Pacific Shellfish PossibleOcean's 'Poop Machines' Could Help Fight Climate ChangeGlobal Fisheries Hit by Climate Change and Overfishing