Formalin fixing

The specimen is thawed and we now have to add formalin to preserve it – as formalin is toxic the scientists have to wear full protective gear while pumping 600 litres into the tank. The smaller specimen is being preserved by injecting 3% formalin into the tissue. Once the formalin has been pumped into the tank, we will replace the lid and head off home for a good night’s sleep. For those of you still watching I understand that some recorded footage from today will be screening for a while this evening.

The plastic lid will be put over the tank, then the wooden lid. Steve O’Shea and Mark Fenwick will be here all night monitoring the pH at 3 hourly intervals – and adding bicarbonate to keep it as neutral as possible so that the hooks and beak don’t dissolve.

Cheers. Thanks for watching

10 Responses

  1. Sue

    I have followed stories about giant squid since I was a child. These are truly fascinating creatures. Only recently did I began to hear of colossal squid and Friday night, on the Discovery Channel, I learned the difference between the species. I am impressed with the great care that was taken every step of the way with this specimen and can’t wait to see it on display when I visit New Zealand sometime after the first of 2009! I thought nothing could top seeing a coelecanth but I was wrong!

  2. Stynor

    I have been watching your live webcasts with a keen interest. I hope your efforts to preserve this wonderous animal result in a much better specimen than I’ve seen.

  3. Miss Kitt

    Wow! I don’t know whether to be glad or sad that I didn’t find this website until just now…I’d probably have failed my math exam if I’d found it sooner, so I guess I’ll have to be glad.
    Please, PLEASE tell me someone’s going to put the highlights of this into some kind of podcast! (Or will that violate some contract with Discovery Channel?)
    Even those of us who didn’t get to become marine biologists can lose sleep over this fantastic blog (and some great comments, too).

  4. Jean McKinnon

    not quite…some of us are stuck at work (not that, that;s uninteresting….but……) 🙁

  5. John Cardot

    I notice from the picture the man from Japan who created the underwater camera that took all of the pictures of the squid that were on a previous Discovery program. Looks like all of the squid specialist are in town for this colossal event. (excuse the pun)

  6. Jean McKinnon

    Once the animal was caught and dying (caught by accident too) would it be better to just leave it and not learn anything from it? That would be a waste IMHO. Perhaps if we learn more about it we can stop them getting tangled up in the lines and no more will die in this way. No-one advocates going out specifically to catch these amazing animals on purpose!

  7. tepapamuseum

    Knowing more about them allows us to protect them better too.
    Check this post for Mark’s opinion on the subject:

  8. cool

    is it dead? what is wrong with you people dissecting th worlds largest squid??? Cant you leave it alone??? IDitots why do you have to know of every creature livinig on this planet and now that the squid has been caught you just want him for as long as you need to clasiffy him and stuff and then you jsut leawve??????

  9. Horace

    I think this is very educational and interesting, keep it up guys!


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