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This was one of the best specials I've seen, and really covered a lot of good aspects of Dosidicus gigas-- lots of Dr.s Gilly and Wood doing actual science, and they had Scott Cassel doing interesting stuff without a lot of melodrama... very well done. I think I spotted Dale as Scott's dive buddy, too, but it was hard to tell in the wetsuit...
Scott tried to get night-vision-camera footage of how the squids behave in the dark, but the camera wasn't quite up to it, as it was washed out by bioluminescent plankton. Still, a great idea... I'd like to see a lot more low-light observations of these animals, since clearly at depth, light is not prevalent in their environments.
There was some work by Gilly & Wood about trying to decide if the "strobing" we see in so many videos is communication of a sort, and I think testing how visible it might be in darkness is interesting. They found that the flashing (at least as stimulated post-mortem) activated a different layer of chromatophores than the "usual" ones, that were deeper. So in this species it sounds like enervation of chromatophores is somewhat different than other species studied. They also reported that, unsurprisingly, as fast and active animals, the giant axons in Dosidicus are the biggest nerve fibers found anywhere... although I don't know if they've been examined much in other large and active squids like Taningia danae and Kondakovia longimana.
Good stuff. It would be great to get Dr. Gilly and/or his students to talk again at TONMOCON III, it sounds like he's doing some great stuff.
I was not part of that expedition. They did use alot of shots that I got of divers getting attacked but that was old footage. I was in the show a couple of times from old footage with me holding onto a squid with ink all around me. Scott hired another diver to back him up on this one, as I was busy with another show at the time.
I am total stoked at the show. Scott Cassell is a true underwater explorer that is trying to advance our knowledge of the undersea world. I am glad to see his hard work and one of a kind knowldedge getting the credit it deserves. Filming the beating heart of the squid and the other experiments he did were true science and it was protrayed properly.
I also found it very interesting on how the cromatophores were found to be more complex than they were thought to be. Dr. Gilly is truly a pioneer as well. I have watched the humboldt flash at me and wondered in amazement at the complex rippling paterns rolling through it.
All in all it found it to be a very interesting and watchable show full of new information.
Neal DVRed it so we will watch it this weekend. One comment/question. Neither Neal nor I ever notice tentacles on the Dosidicus. Are they shorter or less apparent than on other squid or do we just miss them because the arm shots are so impressive?
In addition to the usual good underwater pics, a lot of Dr's Gilly and Wood, including trying to keep animals alive from boat to lab (sadly, no win there) to try to do high-speed filming and microscopy of the flashing to see if it's a communication channel. They did find that when stimulated electrically, the chromatophores that cause the flashing are a different set than the ones that are visible normally.
Also, Scott Cassell sticks an endoscope into a live Humboldt, so you can see gills, beating hearts, etc.
Also, Gilly's lab takes eggs and sperm from caught squids, does in vitro fertilization, and raises the young for 10 days. Also, Gilly finds and films and samples the gelatinous egg mass of Humboldts. Also, Gilly dissects a lot of giant axons out of 'em: apparently, unlike sluggish big squids like Architeuthis, Humboldts actually have a scaled-up giant axon with the usual benefits for physiology research.
That's about all I can remember, aside from the usual footage. I was glad to see Gilly & Scott presented in a less adversarial way, although they weren't ever on camera at the same time.
Just finished watching (DVRed it) and Neal and I both thought it was the best squid program yet (I do wish Discovery would not rehash the subject after each commercial but at least there were a minimum number). I did recognized some of Dale's film work but we still could not identify tentacles in the arm "cluster" (proper name someone?). The documentary said they are present in the Humbolt but they are not obvious in the films.
Dale, Neal wanted to know if you have ever located what/who plays the music underwater but that question probably belongs in the Cthulhu thread