NL team traveling to Antarctica in search of the elusive colossal squid

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 first.

The trip is the culmination of seven years of planning for what the team calls Project Kolossal, an exploration and conservation initiative centered on finding and shooting the elusive colossal squid. Kolossal was founded by Matthew Mulrennan, a California-based ocean scientist, 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:

How a NL team plans to find and film the colossal squid

The colossal squid is one of nature’s largest and most elusive creatures and has never been filmed in its natural habitat. But one NL team is going to the ends of the earth to try to do just that. Here’s how they plan to make a colossal discovery.

Jennifer Herbig and Eugenie Jacobsen are graduate students at Memorial University’s Marine Institute. They were studying marine life in the Arctic aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel, when they received a call asking if they wanted to travel to the other pole of the Earth, in search of squid. colossal. They join 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 dates back to 1925, » Herbig said. « It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to capture this organism on film and really characterize what it’s doing, so I think that would be a huge discovery. »

There is also a huge cost associated with traveling to Antarctica, both in money and in carbon emissions. But the Kolossal team found an innovative way to save on both: instead of taking a research vessel, they hitch a ride on a cruise ship.

« We think it’s one of the best platforms to do that because they’re already going there, » Matthew Mulrennan said. « It’s an incredibly efficient way to do research. »

It is a model that is gaining ground, using adventure tourism to subsidize science. Last summer, Sub-C Imaging’s cameras were used on another expedition that took wealthy researchers and tourists to the wreckage of the Titanic.

But the Titanic is just off the east coast of Newfoundland, and we know exactly where it is. Finding the colossal squid will be another matter. 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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