By Stephanie Paige Ogburn, ClimateWire (June 3, 2013) [via Scientific American]
Sometimes, marine biologist T. Aran Mooney tries to look at things from a squid’s perspective.
"We have a squid-centric view of life from my lab," the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist said. Mooney partly focuses on squids because of the important role they play in ocean ecology.
"We view squid as this organism that either eats or is eaten by everything in the ocean at some point," he said. "When squid populations change, it often impacts otheranimalssuch as albatross egg production or fisheries production.”
The squid Mooney studies, Atlantic longfin squid, is also fished and sold as calamari, and is an important food source for other market fish, like haddock and cod.
The researcher is particularly interested in squids’ inner ear bones, which are called statoliths. That’s because squids use these statoliths for important functions, like balancing and directing themselves as they jet around the ocean.
Recent work published by Mooney and his graduate student Max Kaplan shows ocean acidification, caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean, may have a negative effect on those statoliths and on squids themselves.