An expert on the Humboldt squid will give a free, public talk on these large marine predators – which have shown up in Pacific Northwest waters in unprecedented numbers over the past year – this Wednesday night at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport
Humboldt or jumbo squid, Dosidicus gigas, are most commonly found at depths of 200–700 metres (660–2,300 ft) in the central to south Pacific, from Tierra del Fuego to California. Since the late 1990s the squid have been expanding their range, making their way in increasing numbers as far north as offshore Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. With the expansion has come increased interaction with humans, mainly divers and fishermen.
Professor William F. Gilly of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station visits the HMSC Visitor Center Wednesday, March 10, to discuss the behavior, physiology and ecology of Dosidicus gigas. The public presentation starts at 7 pm in the Hennings Auditorium. There is no admission charge, although donations to the support the center’s public marine education programs are encouraged.
Although reasons for the Humboldt squid’s sudden range expansion during the last decade remain mysterious, recent studies shed light on the ecology, physiology and behavior of these large predators. They are abundant, fast-growing, short-lived, and extremely prolific. Their diet ranges from small, midwater organisms to large fish. They are powerful swimmers capable of rapid vertical and horizontal migrations. They are tolerant of environmental features, particularly temperature and oxygen. They have large brains and complex behaviors. Scientists have suggested that if one wanted to design a top predator equipped to cope with climate change, the Humbold squid might be it.
(Professor Gilly’s lab has resources for teachers, parents and students at Squids For Kids)