Over the past decade, the problem of invasive species has become more pervasive in aquatic systems around the globe. With the continued warming of water bodies due to climate change, dangerous invasives can expand their ranges and invade established habitats.
A notable example of this is the Humboldt squid, also called the jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas), moving all the way up the Pacific coast from Mexican waters to as far north as the coast of Vancouver Island. One of the most powerful ways the species disrupts the ecosystem is that it consumes tremendous amounts of prey. Humboldt squids grow to be over 1.5 m in length and an average of 50 kg (100 lbs) in under one year; this necessitates that the squid feeds constantly, which annihilates prey species in the Humboldt’s range. Because many of its prey items are economically important fishes, the expansion and actions of the Humboldt squid are being avidly monitored.
Photo © Brian Skerry