Team from N.L. travelling to Antarctica in search of the elusive colossal squid
Camera technicians from SubC Imaging and graduate students from Marine Institute are part of the expedition
Somewhere in the Antarctic Ocean lives the colossal squid, a creature so rare and mysterious that it has never been filmed in its natural habitat. But right now, a team from Newfoundland and Labrador is sailing the ocean, hoping to be the first.
The trip is the culmination of seven years of planning what the team calls Project Kolossal, an exploration and conservation initiative centred on finding and filming the elusive colossal squid. Kolossal was founded by Matthew Mulrennan, an ocean scientist based in California, and much of the expertise he recruited for the project comes from Newfoundland and Labrador, where cold water science is a specialty.
Watch the video below to see how the team plans to record the world's first video of the colossal squid:
Jennifer Herbig and Eugenie Jacobsen are graduate students at Memorial University's Marine Institute. They were studying marine life in the arctic onboard a Canadian Coast Guard ship, when they got a call asking if they wanted to go to Earth's other pole, in search of colossal squid. They're joining an expedition team that includes Mulrennan and a camera technician from SubC Imaging, a Clarenville company that makes specialized cameras for underwater videography.
"I think the first discovery of the colossal squid was in 1925," said Herbig. "It's been a long time coming that we haven't been able to capture this organism on film and really characterize what it's doing. So I think it would be a huge discovery."
There's also a huge cost associated with getting to Antarctica, in both money and carbon emissions. But the Kolossal team have found an innovative way to save on both: instead of taking a research vessel, they're hitching a ride on a cruise ship.
"We think this is one of the best platforms to do it, because they're already going down there," said Matthew Mulrennan. "It's an incredibly efficient way to do research."
It's a model that's catching on, using adventure tourism to subsidize science. Last summer, SubC Imaging's cameras were used on another expedition that took researchers and well-heeled tourists to the wreck of the Titanic.
But the Titanic lies just off Newfoundland's east coast, and we know exactly where it is. Finding the colossal squid will be a different kettle of fish. The team is prepared to make several trips over several years, if necessary. But they say the potential reward of a world's first video is worth the colossal effort.
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