Maya octopus could leave Yucatan due to climate change

(Via: Reporteros Hoy)

The region’s endemic octopus, the Maya Octopus, is highly sensitive to changes in temperature. 

(MÉRIDA, YUC. – UNAM).- For many it goes unnoticed, but climate change is a serious threat in Yucatan, and as an example, the region’s endemic octopus, the Mayan Octopus , sensitive to temperature changes, can “abandon” the local coast in the next 50 years and migrate to other areas to survive.

A laboratory study of the Multidisciplinary Teaching and Research Unit of the Faculty of Sciences of the UNAM, located in Sisal, revealed in 2018 that one of the greatest risks of not having the right temperature is that the females do not spawn and the specimens juveniles do not achieve normal growth. 

Also, if these molluscs remain at 30 degrees Celsius for a long time, they will begin to die. 

Ocean current

And it is that on the north coast of the state there is a marine current that enters the Yucatan platform from the Caribbean Sea, which travels to a depth of about one thousand meters, which allows the temperature in the local waters to be adequate for the species. In other words, the water that reaches Yucatan is colder, which means that octopuses develop better in summer as they are adapted to those temperatures. 

According to researchers, the coast of the State does not exceed 27 degrees in the part where the octopuses live. 

This situation is different in Campeche, where this cold water does not arrive every year because it “turns” towards the Gulf of Mexico and is diluted, which means that despite having the same species of octopus, its temperatures are higher. 

It is believed that when the water in Campeche begins to warm up, the octopuses migrate, either going to deeper waters or to the Yucatan temporarily to live in suitable temperatures. 

The serious thing is that the results of the research on ocean currents have shown that there is a weakening of the current, and with it the cold water that octopuses need to live in Yucatan decreases. 

Although experts wait, the consequences are expected to be more noticeable in about 50 years. Another consequence of global warming is that if the octopuses move and with this other species that are also sensitive to temperature, the structure of the ecosystem will change, on which many people depend for fishing activity.

The Yucatan Times
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