Humboldt squid threatened by global warming


This video from the USA is called The Fierce Humboldt Squid.

From British daily The Guardian:

One of the most formidable predators in the Pacific ocean, the Humboldt squid, may become more vulnerable to attacks from other marine beasts as changing water conditions make them more sluggish swimmers, a study has found.

As human activities increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the level in the oceans also rise. Scientists believe this will make the squid lethargic, and so less able to outswim their own predators, including sperm whales that feed heavily on the creatures.

Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) can grow up to 2m long and hunt in shoals of more than a thousand. Scientists have recorded the creatures, which are found in waters from Alaska to Patagonia, swimming at more than 20kmh (13mph).

In the daytime, the squid are forced to dive deep to prey on lantern fish, but because deeper waters are starved of oxygen, the squid must return to the surface at night to recover.

Rui Rosa at the University of Lisbon netted Humboldt squid off the coast of California and transferred them to water tanks aboard the team’s research vessel to examine how they coped with different levels of carbon dioxide in water.

Rosa found that when the squid swim in oxygen-starved waters, they survive by slowing down their metabolism by up to 80%.

Poznan talks offer little hope on climate change: here.

Huge swathe of the Pacific to be protected: here.

Giant squid caught: here. And here. And here.

7 thoughts on “Humboldt squid threatened by global warming

  1. Giant squid sightings show species’ unusual trek north

    An estimated 300 to 500 Humboldt squid swam ashore in the Long Beach area on the west coast of Vancouver Island

    Mark Hume

    Vancouver — From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail Last updated on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009 02:41AM EDT

    The stranding of hundreds of giant squid on beaches near Tofino last week was the latest indication that warm-water species are pushing north on the Pacific Coast, perhaps as a result of global warming.

    The Humboldt squid, an estimated 300 to 500 of which swam ashore in the Long Beach area on the west coast of Vancouver Island, normally range from South America to California.

    But the large, aggressive squid, which are also called Giant squid, Jumbo Flying squid and Red Devils, have increasingly been reported from Oregon to Alaska.

    The squid make tasty calamari and are fished commercially in southern waters. But they could have a negative impact in B.C. if they prey heavily on herring, hake or salmon.

    Josie Osborne, a biologist with the Raincoast Education Society, in Tofino, said she was surprised when she heard last week that squid and small fish were washing ashore on several local beaches.

    When she walked Chesterman Beach the next day, she found it was littered with thousands of pilchards, or sardines, and big, red-bodied squid.

    “It was quite shocking.”

    Squid prey on pilchard, but it’s unclear what caused both species to end up on the beach.

    James Cosgrove, who retired a few years ago as head of the Royal B.C. Museum’s department of natural history, documented the first case of a Humboldt squid in B.C. waters with a sample collected in 2003.

    Since then, they have become regular visitors.

    “This is the sixth year in a row that they’ve shown up in B.C. waters,” he said.

    Mr. Cosgrove said it used to be rare to see Humboldt squid north of California, but in recent years there have been strandings on beaches in Oregon, Washington and B.C., as well as reports of incidental catches of squid by sports and commercial fishermen.

    He said scientists haven’t yet been able to explain the strandings.

    “It looks like they are actually aiming at the beach,” he said. “Whether there’s a virus or a bacteria or they are losing their sense of direction isn’t clear…there is all kinds of speculation.”

    He added that people encountering a squid, which can grow to nearly two metres long and which have teeth on their tentacles, should treat it cautiously.

    “They are potentially a very, very dangerous animal,” he said.

    “The professional divers that are doing underwater footage of the squid [in California] are now wearing chain-mail suits and are being tethered to [floats on] the surface because there have been several instances of people being dragged down.

    “Some of the professional photographers that I’ve talked with over the years have said they got to the point where they feared for their lives with having these squid around.”

    Graham Gillespie, a research biologist with the federal Pacific Biological Station, in Nanaimo, said he hopes to capture some Humboldt squid this week while doing a hake survey off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

    Mr. Gillespie said he’ll use squid jigs at night, because the creatures typically come up from the ocean depths after dark to feed near the surface.

    Among other things, he’d like to get stomach samples to learn what Humboldt squid primarily prey on in B.C. waters.

    Mr. Gillespie said there was one anecdotal report that squid were seen chasing salmon into a creek mouth in Quatsino Sound, on northern Vancouver Island.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/squid-sightings-show-species-unusual-trek/article1247296/

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