The romance of squid research

You have got to love cephalopod researchers. A rotting carcass, possibly of Architeuthis, is found in California — shredded by sharks, missing its eyes and most of its arms, torn by shrieking seagulls, described as bruised, battered, and chewed up — and the scientists are all “Helloooo, Nurse!”, and you can just imagine one of their hind legs doing a spastic tarantella and their eyes zooming out big as saucers. Heaven for a squid-fan has to be slimy, ripe, and wrapped in long, ropy tentacles, I think.


  1. Michelle says

    I alway admired their guts. I know mine would be spilling out of my mouth at the sight of one of them thingies.

  2. says

    “Heaven for a squid-fan has to be slimy, ripe, and wrapped in long, ropy tentacles, I think.”

    Hmmm, I wonder what a one-night-stand with one would be like?

  3. SC says

    and their eyes zooming out big as saucers.

    Wouldn’t dinner plates be a better analogy? ;)

  4. says

    It’s basically no different than forensic pathology. Most people run away from a rotting corpse, but forensic pathologists make studying them their life’s work.

  5. jj says

    Woot! I love my Monterey Bay!!!!! So much fun research coming out of my town here in Santa Cruz, with the Seymore Center, Long Marine Labs (Go UCSC), and NOAA we see these things quite often. One time in a class at Long Marine Lab years ago we did a necropsy on a harbor porpoise, talk about smelly (but ohh so interesting)! Calamari anyone?

  6. Will Von Wizzlepig says

    uh… huh-huh. He said “tarantella”.

    You getting all Tom Waits on us PZ?

    Next thing you know we’ll have photos of him at a Cramps concert with a devilock and a PBR tallboy, kicking sissies around in the pit.

  7. Don Smith,FCD says

    Hasn’t anyone thought of the Guiness world record and try to fry up the biggest calamari ring? Imagine one the size of a truck tire…

  8. tg says

    I wonder if Hodkin and Huxley were like that. “Holy smokes, Huxley, THIS ONE’S STILL BREATHING! Quick, grab him before the seagulls return!”, “right you are HodgkGET AWAY YOU FILTHY BIRDS”.

    Meh, I just realized no one would get the reference.

  9. BobbyEarle says

    I got married at Monterey Bay, right on the beach.

    They seem to have found my ex.

  10. Ichthyic says

    Wonder if this squid is part of that population explosion?

    It’s not necessarily an increase in numbers, so much as moving to a new locale (or re-invading, as that species HAS been there before), due to shifts in ocean currents which locally raise temperatures enough for that species to exploit the area. This has the dual effect of being more hospitable to that species of squid in general, as well as possibly reducing the concentrations of their primary predators.

    It happens all the time off the Pacific Coast; whenever there is an El-Niño event, we get warm water being pushed northward, and subtropicals tend to follow it and “invade”.

    Humboldt squid have been noted periodically off the central CA coast (and northwards) for decades.

    I couldn’t say if the relatively small overall ocean temps due to climate change are pushing them even farther northward.

    There are some good people looking into it at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (including an old professor of mine, Bruce Robison):

  11. Ichthyic says

    Heh, I just noticed that the guy who found the squid is the person I used to work with at the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation.

    I’ll have to give him a ring.

    anybody have any questions?

    (note: Sean is not a biologist, but he does spend a LOT of time out on the water)

  12. says

    Thanks for that link, Ichthyic. I’ve added it to that article I mentioned earlier. While climate change is certainly affecting the ecology, it’s by no means the only thing.