2024 Grass Fellow Aalok Varma

Aalok Varma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department: Neuroscience
Start Year: 2024
Starting Institution: University of California, San Diego
Current Institution: University of California, San Diego
Project Title: Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Coleoid Cephalopods

Climate change is a global phenomenon that impacts all life forms. Coleoid cephalopods (squids, cuttlefish, and octopuses) exhibit remarkable adaptability in the face of changing environmental conditions, which could explain why their populations have been increasing despite dramatic changes to the oceans they live in. Their complex cognitive abilities, camouflaging prowess, and transcriptional re-coding mechanisms suggest that they may possess unique strategies for coping with the stressors posed by climate change. As a Grass Fellow, I plan to study the effects of multiple climate change-like abiotic stressors on the behaviour and neural function of coleoid cephalopods, using hatchlings of the hummingbird bobtail squid Euprymna berryi as the model system of choice. I hope to use my time as a Fellow to establish a solid foundation for future research on this crucial topic.