Giant squid in Gulf of Mexico, video


This 22 June 2019 video says about itself:

Amazing close-up footage of elusive giant squid

Scientists get a rare close encounter with a giant squid in the Gulf of Mexico. The monster of the deep comes in for a closer look at their underwater camera. It’s estimated this particular specimen was up to 3.7 metres long. Report by Jeremy Barnes.

From National Geographic:

Watch first-ever video of a giant squid in U.S. waters

NOAA scientists filmed the 10- to 12-foot squid in the the Gulf of Mexico

By Jill Langlois

PUBLISHED

When Edie Widder saw the giant squid come into view for the first time, its tentacles splayed as it tried to attack the electronic jellyfish lure in front of the underwater camera, she felt a sense of vindication.

After years of trying to develop ways to observe deep-sea animals, the CEO and senior scientist at the Florida-based Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA), had finally figured out the key. The special camera system she developed, called Medusa, emits a red light invisible to most creatures living in “midnight zone,” some 3,280 feet below the ocean’s surface, where it’s pitch black.

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Squid lays eggs, video


This 17 May 2019 video shows five common squid, four males, one female dancing around sticks put there by divers. At the end of the video, the female deposits eggs on one of the sticks.

Diver Mirjam van der Sanden made this video in the Oosterschelde estuary in the Netherlands.

Sperm whale hunts squid, video


This video says about itself:

Rare Footage of a Sperm Whale Hunting a Squid

For decades, scientists and filmmakers have been trying to capture footage of the world’s largest active predator hunting 3,000 feet below the surface, deep in the dark depths of the ocean. Witness a sperm whale echolocate its prey with intense clicking and then successfully hunt down what is believed to be a squid.

Squid colours, new research


This 19 November 2018 video is called A video of color changes in squid Doryteuthis pealeii.

Aka the longfin inshore squid. The species about which this recent research has been done.

From the Marine Biological Laboratory in Chicago in the USA:

Elegant interplay of coloration strategies is discovered in squid‘s smart skin

March 6, 2019

In the blink of an eye, the squid’s “smart skin” switches color and pattern for the purpose of camouflage or sexual signaling, a virtuosic display that has long fascinated scientists. Now, collaborators from Northeastern University and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) report a paradigm-shifting discovery in how specialized organs in squid skin, called chromatophores, contribute to the feat via an elegant interplay of pigmentary action and structural coloration. Their study, which brings bio-inspired engineers ever closer to building smart skin, is published in Nature Communications.

“People have been trying to build devices that can mimic cephalopod color change for a long time by using off-the-shelf components,” says Leila Deravi, an assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern, whose lab led the study. “Nobody has come anywhere near the speed and sophistication of how they actually work.”

Deravi and MBL Senior Scientist Roger Hanlon, a leading expert on camouflage in cephalopods (squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish), led an interdisciplinary team of researchers to investigate squid dynamic coloration on a molecular level.

Squid skin contains two types of structures that manipulate light to produce various colors. The chromatophores contain elastic sacs of pigment that stretch rapidly into discs of color when the muscles around them contract. When light strikes the pigment granules, they absorb the majority of the wavelengths and reflect back only a narrow band of color.

Deeper in the skin, cells called iridophores reflect all the light that hits them. By scattering this light, a method known as structural coloration, they bounce back a bright sheen of iridescence.

For decades, all available data had indicated that these separate structures could only produce one type of coloration or the other: pigmentary or structural. But when co-author and MBL researcher Stephen L. Senft looked closely at the squid chromatophores, he spotted iridescence shimmering in perfect alignment with the pigment.

“In that top layer, embedded into the chromatophore organ, is structural coloration,” says Hanlon. “No one had found anything like that.”

Hanlon, who has spent the better part of four decades studying cephalopod biology, went back through his old Kodachrome slides of chromatophores. Sure enough, he found a photograph of blue iridescence reflecting from a chromatophore. At the time, he had assumed the shimmering blue was from an iridophore deeper in the skin.

“I saw this in 1978, and I didn’t realize what I was looking at,” Hanlon says. “It’s incredible.”

This time, the researchers are sure the iridescence is coming from the chromatophore. The team (including MBL scientists Alan M. Kuzirian and Joshua C. Rosenthal as well as scientists from MIT and the University of New Hampshire) found the proteins that create iridescence, appropriately known as reflectins, in the cells surrounding the pigment sacs.

This unexpected discovery — that the chromatophore is using both pigmentary and structural coloration to create its dynamic effects — opens up new opportunities for biologists and chemists alike.

“We kind of broke up the known paradigm of how the skin works in the cephalopod world,” Hanlon says.

Biologists like Hanlon can use this new information to better understand these fascinating species. Applied chemists like Deravi can use it to work on reverse-engineering the color-change abilities of cephalopods for human use.

“We’re piecing together a roadmap, essentially, for how these animals work,” Deravi says. “Our ultimate goal is to try to create something like a material, a wearable device, a painting or a coating, that can change color very quickly like these animals do.

“It’s not as far-fetched of a goal today as it was even three years ago.”

Hawaiian bobtail squid’s genome sequenced


This 2018 video says about itself:

The bobtail squid is an underwater delicacy for many predators, so the creature found a handy superpower to stay alive: invisibility.

This squishy species is no bigger than a golf ball, making the squid a tasty mouthful for any hungry hunter that feeds along the coastal waters of Hawaii. To avoid becoming a snack, the bobtail squid has formed a powerful alliance with a luminous bacteria called Vibrio fischeri.

The bacteria reside inside a “light organ” on the underside of the squid, and at nighttime, these tiny tenants will glow to match the pattern of moonlight coming from above. This helps mask the silhouette of the squid, rendering them “invisible” to predators from below.

Ed Yong talks with Margaret McFall-Ngai and Edward Ruby from the University of Hawaii, who have been studying the partnership between the bobtail squid and its glowing microbes for years. A spectacular feature of this symbiosis is that squid aren’t born with a complete light organ—the bacteria help build it!

From the University of Connecticut in the USA:

A little squid sheds light on evolution with bacteria

January 7, 2019

Summary: Researchers have sequenced the genome of a little squid to identify unique evolutionary footprints in symbiotic organs, yielding clues about how organs that house bacteria are especially suited for this partnership.

Bacteria, which are vital for the health of all animals, also played a major role in the evolution of animals and their tissues. In an effort to understand just how animals co-evolved with bacteria over time, researchers have turned to the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes.

In a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers, led by UConn associate professor of molecular and cell biology Spencer Nyholm, sequenced the genome of this little squid to identify unique evolutionary footprints in symbiotic organs, yielding clues about how organs that house bacteria are especially suited for this partnership.

The first squid genome was sequenced by Nyholm, along with Jamie Foster of the University of Florida, Oleg Simakov of the University of Vienna, and Mahdi Belcaid of the University of Hawaii. The team found several surprises, for instance, that the Hawaiian bobtail squid’s genome is 1.5 times the size of the human genome.

By comparing the genome of E. scolopes to its cousin, the octopus, the researchers show that the common ancestor of both the octopus and the Hawaiian bobtail squid went through a major genetic makeover, reorganizing and increasing the genome size. This “upgrade” likely gave the cephalopods opportunities for increased complexity, including new organs like the ones that house bacteria.

“The Hawaiian bobtail squid has served as a model organism for studying symbiosis for over 30 years,” notes Nyholm. “Having the genome will help researchers who study these interactions, as well as those studying diverse areas of biology, such as animal development and comparative evolution.”

Many animals have organs that house bacteria. The human gut houses trillions of bacteria that play important roles in digestion, immune function, and overall health. Understanding how these relationships are maintained by identifying genes that help animals cooperate with bacteria lays the groundwork for furthering knowledge of the human body. The Hawaiian bobtail squid is an excellent model for identifying these genes because of its symbiotic relationships with beneficial microbes, and its use by a number of scientists to study communication between bacteria and animals.

The Hawaiian bobtail squid has two different symbiotic organs, and researchers were able to show that each of these took different paths in their evolution. This particular species of squid has a light organ that harbors a light-producing, or bioluminescent, bacterium that enables the squid to cloak itself from predators. At some point in the past, a major “duplication event” occurred that led to repeat copies of genes that normally exist in the eye. These genes allowed the squid to manipulate the light generated by the bacteria.

Another finding was that in the accessory nidamental gland, a female reproductive organ, there was an enrichment of genes that are “orphan genes” or genes that have only been found in the bobtail squid and not in other organisms.

“Squid and octopus showed very unique genome structure, unlike in any other animals,” says Simakov, “corroborating previous reports of their unusual nature and complexity.”

Foster notes that teasing out these unusual and complex details is directly applicable to the study of other bacteria/animal relationships.

“Microbes are major drivers of the evolution of animals and their tissues,” she says. “The results of our study have helped identify the ‘origin story’ of those tissues that house an animal’s microbes, and will help tease apart the genetic processes by which these different types of innovation can happen in animals.”

Squid graveyard in Gulf of California


This video, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in the USA, says about itself:

Deep-Sea Discoveries: Squid Graveyard

15 March 2018

On an expedition in the Gulf of California, MBARI researchers discovered a surprising number of deep-sea squid carcasses on the ocean floor. The squid have a fascinating life history, but their story doesn’t end when they die. They become food for hungry scavengers and might change the rhythm of life in the deep sea.

Egg sheets were up to 2.5 m (over 8 feet) long.

The Gulf of California lies between mainland Mexico and Baja. MBARI researchers conducted expeditions there in 2003, 2012 and 2015.

For more information, see here.

Script and narration: Vicky Stein (MBARI Communications Intern)

Video producer: Linda Kuhnz

Music: Amazing Lake

Original journal article: Hoving, H.J.T., Bush, S.L., Haddock, S.H.D., Robison, B.H. (2017). Bathyal feasting: post-spawning squid as a source of carbon for deep-sea benthic communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284: 20172096.

Jumbo squid video


This BBC video says about itself:

Jumbo squid caught on camera for Blue Planet II | Earth Unplugged

8 March 2018

Profile on Edith Widder, bioluminescence expert who took enormous steps in understanding animals’ behaviour in the deep sea.