Octopuses lose vision - when the ocean gets warmer

12 April, 2024

When we talk about climate change, it is usually about the warming atmosphere and changing weather systems, but the ocean is perhaps the most severely affected system.

Many fish and animals are already migrating to deeper and colder parts of the sea. But octopuses are particularly vulnerable and in so many ways. If the ocean continues warming, as scientists predict, it could be devastating for them. Already at a few degrees warmer, you can see that their size, survival and reproductive abilities deteriorate. But perhaps the most serious effect is that their vision deteriorates.

Octopuses are ectothermic animals, that is to say, “cold-blooded”. They depend on the temperature of their surroundings, to regulate their temperature This makes them extra vulnerable in an ocean that is getting warmer. And a new study shows that their vision is particularly sensitive to these temperature changes.

Octopuses are extremely dependent on their vision, 70% of their brain is specifically dedicated to this sense. Researchers from Australia and the United States have conducted experiments to see how octopus’ vision is affected by ocean warming. And it turns out that in temperatures of 25°C significantly fewer “vision-proteins” are formed than in cooler waters. This radically affects their vision.

Text: Lena Scherman

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