Release the Kraken!

ENVIRONMENT

The number of cephalopods has shot up, even as humanity’s influence on the ocean has caused many marine populations to plummet. I, for one, welcome Cthulhu our cephalopod overlords. (Washington Post)

Watch our fun video to understand why this Nat Geo photographer calls cephalopods the “James Dean of the sea” and “the scariest animals I’ve ever encountered.”

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

NGS Picture Id:490239

This tiny octopus was collected from the waters off Hawaii’s Kona coast.
Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • According to a new study, cephalopod populations are booming. What are cephalopods?
    • A cephalopod is a marine animal with arms or tentacles attached to its big head. In fact, the word “cephalopod” is taken from the Greek roots “cephalo-” (head) and “-pod” (foot): head-foot.
      • Cephalopods are mollusks, related to slugs and snails.

 

 

  • Why are cephalopods nicknamed the “weeds of the sea”?
    • According to biologist Zoë Doubleday, cephalopods’ “unique set of biological traits, including rapid growth, short lifespans and flexible development … allow them to adapt to changing environmental conditions (such as temperature) more quickly than many other marine species.”

 

  • How will the increased population of cephalopods impact marine food webs?
    • To be determined:
      • Prey species (including commercially valuable fish and crustacean species) may face increased predation by cephalopods.
      • Species that prey on cephalopods may benefit from increased populations.
      • Cephalopod fisheries have boomed, and they may face overfishing.

 

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Washington Post: Squids and octopuses — the ‘weeds of the sea’ — are on the rise

Nat Geo: The Amazing Squid video

(extra credit! This is a great, short introduction to scientific writing.) Current Biology: Global proliferation of cephalopods

4 responses to “Release the Kraken!

  1. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  3. Pingback: Release the Kraken! — Nat Geo Education Blog – Welcome to the World of Ekasringa Avatar!·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s