Sea monsters have always occupied a place of great fear in the hearts and minds of humans — squid, mainly, who are featured in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Greek and Scandinavian folklore, among others, also feature forms of giant squid. Both cultures had a strong presence at sea in their trade expansions and explorations. A giant squid holds the famous name of Kraken in mythology, as a being that could quickly sink vessels and even level entire cities.
Science is beginning to stop dismissing these as mere stories and states that the creatures will most likely stop existing as a species long before the extinction of humans as Earth suffers extreme climate change and ocean warming. Higher carbon dioxide levels in sea waters have been assumed to cause devastation to squid species. Marine biologists say that the blood of these creatures is quite sensitive, and it is believed they are living in an ecosystem that is not rich enough in oxygen for their movement pattern.
It is now believed that this change in planetary temperature might be a win for the squid while other species are losing out. That is the conclusion of a new study coming out of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. According to the research, carbon dioxide levels are certainly going up.
Sea monsters like squid species would go extinct due to ocean warming
Levels were at 280 parts per million (ppm) before humans started industry a couple of centuries ago. At present, the number stands at 400 ppm and will rise to 900 ppm in less than a hundred years if things maintain their current progression. Increase levels in ocean acidity are caused by contact with carbon dioxide. This could create a series of events that would negatively affect ecosystems by altering processes that serve to maintain the stable flow of matter to preserve life.
James Cook researchers conducted experiments on squid by exposing them to increased levels of carbon dioxide to see how they would cope. Two species were selected for the research, the two-toned pygmy squid and the bigfin reef squid. These were placed in separate tanks and were subjected to various levels of carbon dioxide. Scientists were surprised when they noticed the species were not affected by the generally harmful water acidity. This led them to the conclusion that squid might be positively affected if they are immune to the effects and other species are not.
“We found that these two species of tropical squid are unaffected in their aerobic performance and recovery after exhaustive exercise by the highest projected end-of-century CO2 levels. We are likely to see certain species as being well-suited to succeed in our rapidly changing oceans, and these species of a squid may be among them. The thing that is emerging with most certainty is that it’s going to be a very different world,” the researchers stated in their study paper.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.