Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Envisat Fishes Up Facts Behind Chilean Giant Squid Invasion

Date:
March 23, 2004
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Masses of large ocean-going squid have inundated the shores of Southern Chile, alarming local fishermen who fear these carnivorous invaders could threaten fish stocks. Envisat has helped account for their otherwise mysterious arrival.

This beached jumbo flyung squid is a mysterious deep sea visitor to the Chilean coastline, one of hundreds making a surprise appearance during February 2004, alarming local fishermen. But Envisat AATSR data has shed light on the mystery.
Credit: s: Mariscope Chilena

Masses of large ocean-going squid have inundated the shores of Southern Chile, alarming local fishermen who fear these carnivorous invaders could threaten fish stocks. Envisat has helped account for their otherwise mysterious arrival.

Related Articles


These jumbo flying squid – Dosidicus gigas is their Latin name – are some of the largest known squids on the planet: the ones here measure between 70 to 150 centimetres in length, although specimens have been known to reach more than three metres. Making their home in the open ocean, they rise to the surface at night to aggressively feed on small fish using barbed suckers. In the final days of February more than 200 of the squid were washed up on the beaches around Ancud, on the northern coast of the island of Chiloé in southern Chile. Further incursions have since taken place towards Calbuco, on the inner side of the Chacao channel and towards the southern part of the island along the coast, up to Castro in the middle of the big island of 'Los Lagos' region of the country. Strandings have also been reported in more northerly areas such as Chile's VIII region.

Wondering why these deepwater animals unexpectedly made it to coastal waters is a matter of more than just scientific interest. Thousands of Chileans earn their livelihood from fishing in this part of the country, and these voracious cephalopods are known to prey on commercial fish including hake, sardines and anchovies. The squid themselves are a delicacy in some parts of the world but there is no local tradition of catching or consuming them.

But an explanation for the incursions was available – from 800 km away in space. Envisat's Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) instrument works like a space-based thermometer, taking the temperature of land and sea as it orbits the Earth. It can measure sea surface temperature (SST) to an accuracy of 0.3 degrees centigrade at a spatial resolution of one square km.

A Chilean team is currently working with AATSR SST results in combination with ocean colour data from another Envisat instrument, the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS). The main goal of the project is to investigate the feasibility of a satellite-based early warning system for harmful phytoplankton blooms – explosive growths of sometimes toxic marine algae.

"The AATSR results show the appearance of the squid was connected with changes in the water mass conditions off the coast of Southern Chile in recent weeks," says Dr Cristina Rodríguez-Benito of oceanography company Mariscope Chilena.

This part of the Chilean coast, like most western continental coasts, is subject to upwellings – cold, nutrient-rich waters rise from the oceans depths as prevailing winds blow warmer surface waters away. The phenomenon supports rich fisheries. But the AATSR data reveal that a coastal upwelling that typically influencing the waters between Chiloé and the mainland was not seen in the last week of February.

"This caused an influx of warmer water, between 0.5 and 1.5 degrees, and also squid, which are attracted to steep temperature and salinity gradients in the sea where they find their food," adds Rodríguez-Benito. "The squid ended up in a lens of cold water between warmer masses, and this carried them into the inner Gulf of Ancud area.

"The decrease in water temperature in the inner areas can also have a direct effect on aquaculture, because the metabolic systems of fish species are very sensitive to such changes. Envisat's AATSR data registered a decrease of up to 3ºC.

"Even more important than temperature is the indication of the entrance of a water mass poor in oxygen that could be the reason for the losses already registered in some aquaculture sites.

"We are interested in such events as part of our main project because temperature gradients are often where new phytoplankton blooms occur. But the possibility of being able to predict these phenomena would be very useful also to the fishing industry."

The team plans to present their experiences of using Envisat data in this way to a conference this month of the Chilean Civil Protection Organisation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Envisat Fishes Up Facts Behind Chilean Giant Squid Invasion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040323072405.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2004, March 23). Envisat Fishes Up Facts Behind Chilean Giant Squid Invasion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040323072405.htm
European Space Agency. "Envisat Fishes Up Facts Behind Chilean Giant Squid Invasion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040323072405.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins