Humboldt squid showing up off Washington State wasn't just a blip on the radar--apparently they're still there, and the local fishermen are happy to haul them in. Luckily for us scientists, some of the locals are just as happy to share their boats as data collection platforms!
My advisor and a fellow grad student are headed up that way next week to "science it up" (as a friend of mine likes to say). Their primary goal is to tag and release some squid to learn more about their migration patterns.
But we squid biologists are as opportunistic as our study organisms, so while they're in town, they'll be gathering as much other data as possible. Most notably, they will be collecting the stomachs of these squid to find out what they're eating up there. This is a hot question, because Humboldts stand accused of eating salmon, thereby horning in on the territory of big fishing buisness.
However, it must be stated clearly that no one has ever seen a Humboldt squid eat a salmon, nor has anyone ever seen salmon remains inside a Humboldt squid stomach.
If they are eating salmon, though, the Strait of Juan de Fuca seems like one of the best places to catch them at it. Maybe next week's excusion will bring home the smoking gun! (And by "smoking gun" I mean "salmon remains inside a squid's stomach.")