Monday, November 1, 2010


Danna Staaf, who received her Ph.D. for her studies in reproduction and early life of Humbolgt Squid, or, as she puts it, squid sex and babies from Stanford University earlier this year, came to Cambria to tell Friends of the Elephant Seal docents about them. Humboldt Squid are a favorite food of Elephant Seals.

She calls herself a 'cephalopodiatrist,'

Here we are snapping squid beaks at each other. I learned a lot I didn't know about squid: that they hatch from eggs, about the size of a grain of rice when they start. She had some microscopic video of these tiny babies. They have chromatophores on them even when they are that small, the color cells that allow squid to change color instantaneously, I was fascinated by the organs, changing color on this tiny organism. They grow from that tiny start to full size, four feet or larger, in a year. Like elephant seals, they are difficult to research because they live deep in the ocean.

Significantly for elephant seals, Humboldt Squid migrate down in the water column during the day, about 300 meters, 1,000 feet, to a low-oxygen zone where most of their predators can't hunt them. Fish such as tuna need lots of oxygen in the water.

Elephant seals, on the other hand, get oxygen from the air they breathe, so they are not limited by the amount of oxygen in the water. That would make for good hunting for elephant seals. It's a question some researcher may even now be designing a study to investigate.
Thanks for coming to Cambria, Danna! And sharing what you know about squid with us.

No comments:

Post a Comment