GIANT SQUID: Sperm Whales

We’re listening to the sounds of Sperm Whales. One of the whale’s favorite foods is Giant Squid, and scientists are following Sperm Whales to track the elusive squid, which has never been observed in its home habitat. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“Much of what we know about many deep water squid come from Sperm Whale stomachs. And so as we’ve come to learn more and more about how Sperm Whales dive and how they feed, that’s begun to tell us something of where these squid must live.”

Kurt Fristrup is the Assistant Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University, and part of an international team that’s been searching for the Giant Squid.

“We’ve been out on two expeditions together. One off the Azores and one off New Zealand. And in both cases my role was to track the Sperm Whales present to give us a good indication of what depth layers we should be exploring. We used that information to help guide a small robot that has video equipment on board so that we could try and see the animal even though we couldn’t be there ourselves.”

“Our big problem is that the region in which sperm whales dive is profoundly three-dimensional. Not only do we have to look over many square miles of ocean, which might be one Sper, Whale’s territory, but we need to be looking through perhaps another half-mile in depth, and if you’re off by a hundred yards, you’ve totally missed it. So, it’s a very difficult search problem, and most likely, we will only get an answer when we’re able to follow the whales very closely in what they do.”

Has the search been successful? Not yet, but Dr. Fristrup promises us that the team will be heading out to sea again before too long. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

GIANT SQUID: Sperm Whales

Scientists have enlisted the help of sperm whales in their hunt for the giant squid.
Air Date:11/19/1997
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're listening to the sounds of Sperm Whales. One of the whale's favorite foods is Giant Squid, and scientists are following Sperm Whales to track the elusive squid, which has never been observed in its home habitat. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"Much of what we know about many deep water squid come from Sperm Whale stomachs. And so as we've come to learn more and more about how Sperm Whales dive and how they feed, that's begun to tell us something of where these squid must live."

Kurt Fristrup is the Assistant Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University, and part of an international team that's been searching for the Giant Squid.

"We've been out on two expeditions together. One off the Azores and one off New Zealand. And in both cases my role was to track the Sperm Whales present to give us a good indication of what depth layers we should be exploring. We used that information to help guide a small robot that has video equipment on board so that we could try and see the animal even though we couldn't be there ourselves."

"Our big problem is that the region in which sperm whales dive is profoundly three-dimensional. Not only do we have to look over many square miles of ocean, which might be one Sper, Whale's territory, but we need to be looking through perhaps another half-mile in depth, and if you're off by a hundred yards, you've totally missed it. So, it's a very difficult search problem, and most likely, we will only get an answer when we're able to follow the whales very closely in what they do."

Has the search been successful? Not yet, but Dr. Fristrup promises us that the team will be heading out to sea again before too long. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.