By any reasonable measure, climate change has been terrible for the world’s oceans. It’s disrupted food chains, caused coral bleaching, acidified water, and done all sorts of other damage.
On the other hand, it may be fantastic for octopuses.
A new study published in Current Biology says cephalopods—which include octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish—are increasing in number all over the world, which means they’re not only surviving climate change, but may be thriving on it.
“This study presents the first evidence that cephalopod populations have increased globally, indicating that these ecologically and commercially important invertebrates may have benefited from a changing ocean environment,” the study says.
Octopuses have a few advantages over other marine species, including their quick growth and short lifespans. They’re also extremely adaptable, which scientists say may be part of why they’re able to survive the changes in their environment so well.
But if climate change is good for octopuses right now, it may not be forever. The study also says that some of the effects of rising ocean temperatures-- particularly water acidification-- could hurt them in the future. So what's happening right now may be, in a sense, an octopus bubble.