Seymour Center presents lecture on jumbo squid in Monterey Bay

Squid expert Danna Staaf (above) will discuss the Humboldt squid (below) and its invasion of Monterey Bay.

Squid expert Danna Staaf from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station will discuss the invasion of Monterey Bay by jumbo squid in a public lecture at the Seymour Center at 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 16. Staaf's lecture "Straight Talk about Jumbo Squid: the life history and movements of the Jumbo/Humboldt squid," is part of the Science Sunday lecture series at the Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory. The event is free with paid admission or membership.

Traditionally, the jumbo or Humboldt squid is found in coastal waters from Chile to San Diego. In recent years, however, these large carnivorous invertebrates have invaded the Monterey Bay, eating Pacific hake, rockfish, and market squid, all important fisheries in California. Are they staying? Breeding? Dangerous? In her talk, Staaf will address these questions and discuss how these changes affect the marine environment.

In 1997, large numbers of jumbo squid were first discovered in the Monterey Bay during El Niño conditions, a temporary shift in ocean conditions that brings warm waters up the Pacific Coast. The animals later disappeared. They returned in vast numbers during a second El Niño in 2002 and have had an on-and-off presence in the Bay ever since. Researchers speculate that their expansion of habitat can be attributed to many environmental changes, including climate change, over-fishing, expansion of low-oxygen zones, and an uncanny ability to adapt. Staaf has been researching their ability to reproduce in new environments and what that means for both the Humboldt squid and the ecology of Monterey Bay.

Located in Santa Cruz on the bluffs overlooking Monterey Bay, the Seymour Center provides exciting and engaging ocean education programs for the visiting public and for students of all ages. It is dedicated to educating youth, families, and the general public about the role science plays in the understanding and conservation of the world's oceans. The Seymour Center is open six days a week, year-round, and serves more than 60,000 people each year.