It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A growing mass of these hungry squid could have a large impact on some fish stocks, especially those that are already faltering. "They can eat pretty much all they want," Gilly says, noting that researchers have found a range of meals inside the squid, ranging from tiny krill to 40-centimeter-long hake—and even some salmon remains. Humboldts have even been known to eat each other. As evidence for their impact on U.S. fisheries continues to trickle in, their effect off in Chile, where the squid have been prevalent for much longer than most parts off the U.S. coast, has been more conspicuous: "There's very strong evidence that the squid expansion had a huge impact on the hake fisheries," says Field, who helped organize a symposium on the animal in 2007. "It looks like they're doing the same migration as hake, which concerns me.
....if the squids' range continues to expand, he adds: "I wouldn't rule out the potential for a huge impact."
Humboldt squid's core range used to extend from San Diego across the equator to northern Chile but now stretches from southern Alaska to Chile's southern tip.
Changes in climate, water stratification, wind patterns and currents in the Pacific might all be playing a role in expanding these hypoxic zones, Gilly explains. Despite their dreary name, these growing dead zones are likely boosting Humboldt squid numbers. In warmer water areas these low-oxygen zones often start 200 meters below the surface and extend in the water column down to about 1,000 meters. Off the coast of California, however, Gilly explains, these zones have historically started at a depth closer to 400 or 500 meters, making them much smaller. But in recent years, "that zone is getting bigger" and low oxygen areas have been growing closer to the surface off the coast of North America. Off Oregon, for example, many of the past summers have brought a new seasonal dead zone close to the coast.
This change has meant less livable ocean habitat for many creatures that depend on well-oxygenated water to survive. But for Humboldt squid the expansion of these dead zones has been a lifeline to new habitats. Gilly and his lab have discovered the squid can hang out hundreds of meters down in areas that hold as little as 10 percent of standard surface oxygen levels for a whole day. In fact, the squid do not just seem to tolerate these harsh aqueous climes, but they appear to actually "have an affinity for and favor" them, Gilly notes.
He has a friendly wager (for a six pack of beer) going with a scientist in Russia that the squid will make it to Kamchatka on Siberia's Pacific coast before the men die. With the growing low-oxygen zones under much of that part of the Pacific, "that pathway for them would seem to be there," Gilly says. "They seem to go wherever they want."
Millions of killer giant squid are not only devouring vast amounts of fish they have even started attacking humans. Two Mexican fishermen were recently dragged from their boats and chewed so badly that their bodies could not be identified even by their own families. No wonder the giant squid are called “diablos rojos” – red devils.
The Climatic Impact Indicator, which illustrates the impact of climate change on bird populations, has increased strongly in the past twenty years, coinciding with a period of rapid climatic warming in Europe. Potential links between changes in bird populations and ecosystem functioning and resilience are not well understood.
Some of Britain's best loved farmland birds are continuing to vanish at an alarming rate, according to a shocking new report. Official figures show that populations have plummeted by 11 per cent across England since the mid 1990s - and that once common species such as the starling, turtle dove and corn bunting are suffering the most. The South East has experienced the greatest losses, with numbers of farmland birds down by nearly a quarter in the last 15 years. Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk...
How Effective are Bird Predators in Controlling insect Populations? Further studies were now necessary to establish the effect bird predation has on populations of harmful forest insects. Torgersen assisted in devising an experiment to measure both bird and ant predation on the western spruce budworm. In this experiment, birds were excluded from some trees, ants from others, both birds and ants from others; and some trees were left exposed to both predator groups.3
He discovered that "either birds alone or ants alone were able to compensate [in reducing the survival rate of the spruce budworm], to a large extent, on trees from which the other group was excluded."3 In the absence of both birds and ants, however, any i "compensation [by any other predators 1 that occurred was trivial."4 At low densities, survival of the budworm on trees protected from both groups was ten to fifteen times higher than on trees' exposed to both predator groups. At higher densities survival on - protected trees was still two times higher.3 This study indicated that birds and ants were dominant controlling factors of budworm populations. Are birds more effective predators than ants?
Both groups have been frequently observed preying on all life stages of the budworm with the exception of egg masses, but ants seem to concentrate on the larger larvae and pupae. Since 2, birds can fly, they are able to catch "ballooning" larvae (larvae floating on strands of silk) and adult moths more efficiently than ground-dwelling ants.4 Birds are also more effective in foraging in the higher tree branches than ants.5 Some life of stages of the budworm occur during cola weather, and ants, being more affected by cold temperatures than birds, are less effective than birds during these times.4 However, it is very difficult to separate the effects of insectivorous birds from those of predacious ants, since both are present in the naturel forest environment. Birds and ants together play an important role in the population control of the western spruce budworm.