GIANT SQUID: Elusive Animals

The rhythms of life in the deep ocean are mostly unknown. Darkness and massive pressures make direct observation difficult. Recently, scientists have been searching the deep ocean for Giant Squid, one of the most elusive animals on the planet. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Kurt Fristrup is the Assistant Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University. He tells us that most of what we know about Giant Squid is from finding their remains in the stomachs of Sperm Whales. But scientists have not yet been able to locate a Giant Squid in the deep waters in which they live.

“Well, I think that Giant Squids are difficult to see because they occur quite deep in the ocean and we have only two ways of looking there: with submersibles, which don’t travel very far, and with nets, which are not very discriminating. They have been found dead, floating on the surface and washed up on beaches on several occasions, and some animals that were just barely alive have in fact been found on the surface. So Giant Squids have been seen, just not in their natural habitat.”

Paradoxically, the way we look in on the life of the deep ocean may be the very thing that keeps us from seeing it.

“Our efforts to explore the deep ocean have all involved methods that are very noisy and very obtrusive. When we go down in a submersible it’s not only the noisiest thing around, but it’s also the brightest thing around. So, I think Giant Squid and many other deep sea animals are very sensitive to the sounds and lights of our equipment and we need to develop systems that are much less invasive, if we’re really going to see these animals and their environment in a natural state.”

More on tracking the Giant Squid in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

GIANT SQUID: Elusive Animals

Our efforts to find giant squid may be the very thing that keeps us from it.
Air Date:11/18/1997
Scientist:
Transcript:

The rhythms of life in the deep ocean are mostly unknown. Darkness and massive pressures make direct observation difficult. Recently, scientists have been searching the deep ocean for Giant Squid, one of the most elusive animals on the planet. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Kurt Fristrup is the Assistant Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University. He tells us that most of what we know about Giant Squid is from finding their remains in the stomachs of Sperm Whales. But scientists have not yet been able to locate a Giant Squid in the deep waters in which they live.

"Well, I think that Giant Squids are difficult to see because they occur quite deep in the ocean and we have only two ways of looking there: with submersibles, which don't travel very far, and with nets, which are not very discriminating. They have been found dead, floating on the surface and washed up on beaches on several occasions, and some animals that were just barely alive have in fact been found on the surface. So Giant Squids have been seen, just not in their natural habitat."

Paradoxically, the way we look in on the life of the deep ocean may be the very thing that keeps us from seeing it.

"Our efforts to explore the deep ocean have all involved methods that are very noisy and very obtrusive. When we go down in a submersible it's not only the noisiest thing around, but it's also the brightest thing around. So, I think Giant Squid and many other deep sea animals are very sensitive to the sounds and lights of our equipment and we need to develop systems that are much less invasive, if we're really going to see these animals and their environment in a natural state."

More on tracking the Giant Squid in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.