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Octopuses can go blind from climate change, study warns

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Plastic pollution and climate change may be significantly altering the level of the oxygen on our planet. Now, a new study elaborates on the impact it could have on the marine life such as squid, crabs and octopi – blindness.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, highlighted how important oxygen is from the eye and retina activity for some marine larvae. Small decrease in the oxygen concentration result in significant vision, including an almost total blindness in certain types of.

“Using in vivo electroretinogram recordings, we show that there is a decrease in the retinal sensitivity to light in the marine invertebrate animals upon exposure to a reduced oxygen availability,” the study abstract reads. “We found a 60 to 100 [percent] reduction in the retinal responses in the larvae of cephalopods and crustaceans: the market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens), two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculatus), tuna, crab (Pleuroncodes planipes), and brachyuran crab (Metacarcinus gracilis).”

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To test the theory, were the animals in a reduced oxygen environments for about 30 minutes.

The research highlights that it is likely there is a change in the amount of oxygen in the daily living environment of these animals by swimming at different depths, but underlines the concern that a permanent decline could be devastating.

(Credit: SeaMôr Dolphin Watching Boat Trips New Quay)

“These findings could affect our understanding of the types vulnerability of the ocean oxygen loss, and suggest that the researchers perform electrophysiology experiments are required to monitor the oxygen level, as even small changes in oxygen can affect the results,” the study of the abstract adds.

“I am concerned that climate change will exacerbate this problem,” the study’s lead author, Lillian McCormick, said in an interview with Live Science. She added, “that the visual impairment may happen more often in the sea.”

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Fortunately, vision is not permanent, vision functionality return in a typical environment. McCormick and her team found that all larvae were able to 60 percent of their vision back and finally back at full strength.

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