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All Images

Discovery
Scientists See Squid Attack Squid

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Photo of the research vessel Pacific Storm.

Calm waters in the Sea of Cortez can be deceiving. At night, Humboldt squid rise to the surface, and Mexican fishermen catch them with jigs on handlines, hauling in more than 100,000 tons per year. In March 2007, Oregon State University researchers on the research vessel Pacific Storm developed acoustic imaging techniques to estimate squid biomass.

Credit: Kelly Benoit-Bird, Oregon State University


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Photo of a Humboldt squid.

Squid can reach 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) in length within two years. Kelly Benoit-Bird and her team found that the strength of acoustic echoes is related to the length of the mantle, an external hood covering the animal's vital organs. The voracious predators prey on lanternfish--and each other.

Credit: Kelly Benoit-Bird, Oregon State University


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Scientists get ready to deploy split beam echosounders off the ship.

Oregon State scientists Kelly Benoit-Bird and Chad Waluk get ready to deploy Simrad EK60 split beam echosounders off the RV Pacific Storm. The system emits acoustic pulses at four frequencies: 38, 70, 120 and 200 kilohertz.

Credit: Kelly Benoit-Bird, Oregon State University


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Echogram shows two groups of squid swimming to meet each other in the middle forming a large group.

Echograms, or time-depth plots of echo strength, show how acoustics can reveal the behavior of squid. This echogram shows two groups of squid that were separated by about 98 feet (30 meters) in the water column, swimming to meet each other in the middle, forming one larger group.

Credit: Kelly Benoit-Bird, Oregon State University


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Echogram showing a large school of squid as an intense red mass.

This echogram shows a large school of squid as an intense red mass at a depth of around 164 feet (50 meters). Individual squid, indicated by the upward streaks, are leaving the school and swimming up to the surface. Researchers could see these squid from the boat, but it took acoustics to reveal the massive school below them.

Credit: Kelly Benoit-Bird, Oregon State University


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