Bigfin reef squid demonstrates capacity for conditional discrimination and projected future carbon dioxide has no effect on learning capabilities

Abstract [Related Publication]:

1.      Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are being absorbed by the oceans, a process known as ocean acidification, and risks adversely affecting a variety of behaviours in a range of marine species, including inhibited learning in some fishes. However, the effects of elevated CO2 on learning in advanced invertebrates such as cephalopods are unknown. Any impacts to the learning abilities of cephalopods could have far-reaching consequences for their populations and the communities they inhabit. Cephalopods have some of the most advanced cognitive abilities among invertebrates and are one of the few invertebrate taxa in which conditional discrimination has been demonstrated, though the trait has not been demonstrated in any species of squid.

2.      Here, we tested for the first time the capacity for conditional discrimination in a squid species (Sepioteuthis lessoniana). Furthermore, we investigated the effects of projected future CO2 levels (1,084 µatm) on conditional discrimination and learning more generally. A three-task experiment within a two-choice arena was used to test learning and conditional discrimination. Learning was measured by improvements in task completion in repeated trials over time and the number of trials required to pass each task.

3.      Squid exhibited significant learning capabilities, with an increase in correct choices over successive trials and a decrease in the number of trials needed to complete the successive tasks. Six of the 12 squid tested successfully passed all three tasks indicating a capacity for conditional discrimination in the species. Elevated CO2 had no effect on learning or on the capacity for conditional discrimination in squid.

4.      This study highlights the remarkable cognitive abilities of S. lessoniana, demonstrated by their capacity for conditional discrimination, and suggests that ocean acidification will not compromise learning abilities. However, other behavioural traits in the species have been shown to be altered at comparable elevated CO2 conditions. It is not clear why some ecologically important behaviours are altered by elevated CO2 whereas others are unaffected. Future research should focus on the physiological mechanism responsible for altered behaviours in squid at elevated CO2.  

This dataset consists of 4 data files in Comma-separated values (.csv) format and data file definitions (PDF format):

  • CH2-AllMeta.csv - Averaged data for all trials from each squid
  • CH2-times.csv - Data from all individual trials by each squid
  • CH2-Individuals.csv - data from successful passing trials of all squid
  • CH3-PassMeta.csv - Average data for all trials from only squid who demonstrated conditional discrimination
  • Data files definitions.pdf - Definitions of data labels

The full methodology will be made available in the publication shown in the Related Publications link below.

    Data Record Details
    Data record related to this publication Bigfin reef squid demonstrates capacity for conditional discrimination and projected future carbon dioxide has no effect on learning capabilities
    Data Publication title Bigfin reef squid demonstrates capacity for conditional discrimination and projected future carbon dioxide has no effect on learning capabilities
  • Description

    Abstract [Related Publication]:

    1.      Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are being absorbed by the oceans, a process known as ocean acidification, and risks adversely affecting a variety of behaviours in a range of marine species, including inhibited learning in some fishes. However, the effects of elevated CO2 on learning in advanced invertebrates such as cephalopods are unknown. Any impacts to the learning abilities of cephalopods could have far-reaching consequences for their populations and the communities they inhabit. Cephalopods have some of the most advanced cognitive abilities among invertebrates and are one of the few invertebrate taxa in which conditional discrimination has been demonstrated, though the trait has not been demonstrated in any species of squid.

    2.      Here, we tested for the first time the capacity for conditional discrimination in a squid species (Sepioteuthis lessoniana). Furthermore, we investigated the effects of projected future CO2 levels (1,084 µatm) on conditional discrimination and learning more generally. A three-task experiment within a two-choice arena was used to test learning and conditional discrimination. Learning was measured by improvements in task completion in repeated trials over time and the number of trials required to pass each task.

    3.      Squid exhibited significant learning capabilities, with an increase in correct choices over successive trials and a decrease in the number of trials needed to complete the successive tasks. Six of the 12 squid tested successfully passed all three tasks indicating a capacity for conditional discrimination in the species. Elevated CO2 had no effect on learning or on the capacity for conditional discrimination in squid.

    4.      This study highlights the remarkable cognitive abilities of S. lessoniana, demonstrated by their capacity for conditional discrimination, and suggests that ocean acidification will not compromise learning abilities. However, other behavioural traits in the species have been shown to be altered at comparable elevated CO2 conditions. It is not clear why some ecologically important behaviours are altered by elevated CO2 whereas others are unaffected. Future research should focus on the physiological mechanism responsible for altered behaviours in squid at elevated CO2.  

    This dataset consists of 4 data files in Comma-separated values (.csv) format and data file definitions (PDF format):

    • CH2-AllMeta.csv - Averaged data for all trials from each squid
    • CH2-times.csv - Data from all individual trials by each squid
    • CH2-Individuals.csv - data from successful passing trials of all squid
    • CH3-PassMeta.csv - Average data for all trials from only squid who demonstrated conditional discrimination
    • Data files definitions.pdf - Definitions of data labels

    The full methodology will be made available in the publication shown in the Related Publications link below.

  • Other Descriptors
  • Data type dataset
  • Keywords
    • Cephalopod; Climate change; Conditional discrimination; Learning; Ocean acidification; Squid
  • Funding source
  • Research grant(s)/Scheme name(s)
  • Research themes
    Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
    FoR Codes (*)
    • 060201 - Behavioural Ecology
    SEO Codes
    • 960305 - Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
    Specify spatial or temporal setting of the data
    Temporal (time) coverage
  • Start Date 2015/04/01
  • End Date 2020/04/01
  • Time Period
    Spatial (location) coverage
  • Locations
    Data Locations

    Type Location Notes
    Attachment Ch2-AllMeta.csv Averaged data for all trials from each squid
    Attachment CH2-times.csv Data from all individual trials by each squid
    Attachment Ch2-Individuals.csv Data from successful passing trials of all squid
    Attachment Ch2-PassMeta.csv Averaged data for all trials from only squid who demonstrated conditional discrimination
    Attachment Data file definitions.pdf Definitions of data labels (PDF format)
    The Data Manager is: Blake Spady
    College or Centre
    Access conditions Open
  • Alternative access conditions
  • Data record size 5 files: 75.6 KB
  • Related publications
      Name
    • URL
    • Notes
  • Related websites
      Name
    • URL
    • Notes
  • Related metadata (including standards, codebooks, vocabularies, thesauri, ontologies)
  • Related data
      Name
    • URL
    • Notes
  • Related services
      Name
    • URL
    • Notes
    Citation Spady, Blake (2020): Bigfin reef squid demonstrates capacity for conditional discrimination and projected future carbon dioxide has no effect on learning capabilities. James Cook University. https://doi.org/10.25903/5e968544ea4d6