For example, most invasion articles don't take the time to explain the nuanced history of the squid's presence in California, but here we learn:
When scientists dug through historical records, they discovered that the squid's northward advance wasn't entirely unprecedented. There were accounts from the 1930s of the creatures in Monterey Bay. But never in numbers comparable to what scientists observed now – schools many hundreds strong. And no one had ever seen them as far north as Alaska.And check out this detailed description of the ocean's oxygen minimum zone (familiar to every beginning oceanography student):
An oxygen-depleted layer of water exists naturally many hundreds of feet below the ocean surface. But for the past 50 years in the Pacific Ocean, this layer has become less saturated with oxygen and moved upward. . . the top edge of this low-oxygen zone has advanced upward at an average rate of almost 10 feet per year.followed by a beautifully succinct explanation of its impact on marine life:
Most sea life that has gills prefers to avoid these hypoxic waters. For these species, the ocean has effectively become 246 feet shallower in the past quarter century.And finally, this is a pretty solid paragraph that any of us could borrow to answer the tough question of California Humboldt biology: why are they here?
Although natural cycles are probably behind some of the changes in the Pacific Ocean that scientists are observing, climate change seems to be pushing the ocean beyond the limits of natural variability. The jumbo squid invasion of California and beyond is one symptom of these larger oceanographic changes.We could also borrow this totally awesome quote:
"This occurrence has gotten weird enough to not really make it into the
realm of 'normal,' " says John Field, a fisheries biologist with the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Poor John! You can deliver all the clear, premeditated lines you want, but blurt out a few strange words and the journos pounce.
Anyway, it is a fabulous article, and I have only one real gripe:
Why is it filed under "Technology"? Does abc news not have a "Science" section?