The Mystery of the Humboldt Squid

I read an article about researchers on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California learning about the mysterious Humboldt squid. They caught the squid where they are usually present in large numbers. However, this was not the case when they got there. Their sudden disappearance is affecting the local fishing industry. One of the researchers, William Gilly said:

“There were far fewer of them than normal, they were spread out over a huge area and they were very small. But they were also sexually mature and spawning at a ridiculously small size.”

The squids depend on lantern fish (a small, silvery fish that emits a small light on its sides). During an upwelling, phytoplankton begin to bloom and marine animals come together. But during an El Niño (a complex series of climatic changes during which the water becomes warm and nutrient-poor) the upwelling just recycles the warmer water, causing the phytoplankton population to crash and other creatures that depend on it (lantern fish). They found that the squids migrated to the north around the Midriff Islands where they can find more food, which in this case would be krill.


What are other marine related effects can El Niños cause?

Are there other temporary climate changes like the El Niño that affects phytoplanktons?

What other creatures do El Niños affect?

One thought on “The Mystery of the Humboldt Squid

  1. Wow this could turn out to be very bad. I know that there is a huge squid fishery on the California coast which is a huge profit. If this goes down the drain then many fisherman will lose there source of income. I was reading this article
    Scientists say that they think the squid population will return but it is taking longer than they expected. I was also reading this article
    and it was saying that “El nino” does effect many animals but mostly on the coasts.

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