Thawing Jumbo Squid for Research

Heather Braid

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#1
I have three Humboldt squid that I need to defrost for my fourth year project. I will be doing stable isotope and DNA analysis and I am going to try testing for enzymes but since it was not kept at -80 I'm not sure if that will work. Each one weights about 15 pounds, maybe a bit more and they are about two and a half feet long (with the tentacles wrapped under them). What is the safest and fastest way to defrost them? Can I put them in a container full of cold water? About how long would it take for it to thaw?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

OB

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#2
At a starting temp of minus 18 degrees Celcius and immersed in cold water it should not take a lot more than three hours, max. Isotonic water?
 

Steve O'Shea

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#3
Just cut a bit of flesh off first, if you're to do the DNA; not sure what enzymes you're looking for, or what defrosting will do to them. I'm with Ob - just place in cold water, and whatever you do, don't try and prise the animal apart when it is only partially defrosted - you'll just snap a limb or three if you do.
 

DWhatley

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#5
Be sure to let us know how the big thaw went and INCLUDE SOME PHOTOS :razz:
 

Steve O'Shea

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#6
I'm particularly interested in the beaks of this thing; PLEASE don't discard! (I'm mad keen on a set, if possible)
 

Heather Braid

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#7
The good news is the thaw went very well! We were able to dissect and identify all the parts and get the tissue I need. I have another one to thaw this week, and this time I'll take lots of pictures!

The bad news is I forgot to throw out the bag of squidy water that we thawed her in and left for the weekend, and now the entire lab (and anyone who stands in it for too long) smells of bad squid...

I have the beak in the freezer for you, Steve, how would you like it preserved? Ethanol or dried out?
 

DWhatley

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#8
I guess you caught Mola Mola disease from Steve but it has been dormant for a few years :roll:
 

OB

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#9
The Andromola strain.... Out of curiosity, how long did the thawing of the first squid last in total? And did you do total weight?
 

Heather Braid

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#12
We were able to thaw out our second squid and dissect him today. It took over night to thaw the squid. I'm not sure exactly how long, but I put him in the cooler full of cold water at 4:30pm on Thursday night, and by this morning at 9:00am he was thawed completly but still cold to touch. The other squid was the same way. The first squid, Bellla, was 12 pounds, and the other squid, Ken-Edward, was 14 pounds. Our last squid is 20 pounds, but I'm hoping that he will be able to thaw over night too.

Jean I have a beak in great condition that I would totally trade for a different beak with you! How do you want it preserved? Ethanol or dried out?

The pictures are: the inside of Ken-Edward, the outside of Ken-Edward before we cut him up, me with Bella, and my friend John with Ken-Edward (I'm not entirely sure how I managed to convince him to help me with this, but he also helped me drag these beasts all the way from Tofino BC, to Toronto...normally he works on butterflies).

 

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CaptFish

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#14
:squidaut: Mmmmmm I can almost smell it from here
 

OB

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#16
And so do parasites, pray, tell us Miss Braid, have you obtained any interesting specimens ?
 

Heather Braid

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#17
So far I have found that they had Pacific herring, Pacific sardines, white bate smelt, and dungeness crabs in their bellies. I don't know any more about parasites than what it says in my invert textbook, but we have a PhD student who's working on parasites who's going to come and visit for a couple of weeks to check them out. I sent him some picutres and he said there are some trematodes. The most interesting thing found in the stomach was kelp (I found this in maybe half the stomachs), one had a feather, and many of them have nurdles (small plastic beads, I find this particularily upsetting). I still haven't barcoded the stomach contents from the second stranding, but I will do that early next week and hopefully have additional results in a couple of weeks. I will be doing stable isotope analysis, and I'll let you all know if I find anything interstind with that.

I am so excited about my project! Squids are the best (especially when specimens decide to wash up on the beach exactly when you need something to work on)!
 

tonmo

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#18
Great stuff Heather!
 

Jean

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#19
Ethanol Please Heather! I'll PM my addy, can you pm yours? I'll send you a sloanii beak and maybe a gouldi one if I can find on in ETOH but my Moroteuthis ones are all dried, I'll pop one in anyway! What sort of paras?????

Cheers

J
 

Steve O'Shea

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#20
Heather Braid;149012 said:
..... many of them have nurdles (small plastic beads....). Squids are the best (especially when specimens decide to wash up on the beach exactly when you need something to work on)!
Nurdles? Plastic beads?? Bizarre! We did find a thread of plastic in the stomach of one giant squid, but squid eating plastic beads? I wonder whether this is some form of secondary ingestion - as in the prey have eaten them - because I cannot imagine a squid attacking a plastic bead (wrong shape, size). The algae could be because of the beach-cast nature of these specimens also (also recorded from the stomach's of stranded Architeuthis, but not in situ captured specimens). You want to check out our paper on gut contents of Architeuthis, as we talk about this therein.

Indeed, convenient timing for you, but I am sure there would have been many other projects you could have worked on with cephalopods as an alternative. Really, we do know so very little.
Congrats!
 

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