Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Squid Invasions Signal Changes in the Pacific Ocean

When large numbers of jumbo squid first showed up in California's Monterey Bay in 1997, scientists weren't sure what had brought the cephalopod that far north. An unusually strong El Niño event had warmed the eastern Pacific. But the squid, dubbed el diablo rojo – the red devil – in its native waters off the coast of Mexico, didn't typically venture farther north than Baja California.

nd indeed, within two years, the Humboldtsquid – Dosidicus gigas – had disappeared from central California waters.

But in 2002 – another El Niño year – they reappeared. This time, they took up permanent residence and pushed even farther north – past Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, until, by 2004, fishermen near Sitka, Alaska, were hauling them in.

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