How do Bobtail Squid choose their glowing bacterial partner?

Sarah McAnulty | Andrea Suria

University of Connecticut

$5,000Next Goal
This project was funded on:
16 September 2014

The Hawaiian Bobtail squid has a glowing bacterium that lives in a specialized organ on their underside. As the squid swims at night, the bacteria glow, preventing predators from detecting the squid's silhouette against the moonlight. Squid immune cells are able to distinguish beneficial from harmful bacteria and know to kill only harmful bacteria. Our lab researches how the immune system makes this decision.


Budget Overview

In order to study the squid's immune system, we need to have squid on hand in the lab at all times. Our squid eat ghost shrimp, which are not terribly expensive individually, but over time the cost adds up. We generally have about 20 squid in the lab, some which we have raised and some of which we collect from Hawaii. Most of the money for the lab goes into the maintenance of our squid facility, but we also need lab reagents and antibodies for our immune cell experiments. Taking blood from squid does not necessarily kill the squid, but the squid needs to be strong and healthy to survive being bled. In order to ensure our squid can take it, each needs to be fed 3 shrimp a day. The more money we raise the longer we can keep the squid facility running and the more advanced experiments can be done.

If you donate 1 dollar
We will thank you on our website,

If you donate 5 dollars
As above, and we will acknowledge you in an academic presentation of our research.

If you donate 10 dollars
You can name one of our adult squid, and we will send you a picture of your squid via e-mail

If you donate 20 dollars
You can name a juvenile squid and we will mail you a thank you note with a picture of your squid

If you donate 50 dollars
We will send you a signed print of your choice of scientist/artist Andrea Suria's "Euprymna"(8.5x11) or Sarah McAnulty's "Sepia apama". Comment which print you'd prefer. (Limited to the U.S., International $70 donation)

"Euprymna"-Andrea Suria

"Sepia apama"- Sarah McAnulty

If you donate 100+ dollars
We will give you a tour of our squid facility in Storrs, CT. Great opportunity for kids to talk to a real life scientist! Groups are welcome for this donation level (i.e. classrooms).

If we reach...
4,000 we can support the squid room for 2 months
5,000 as above, and afford an antibody for more advanced immune cell experiments
6,000 as above, and afford a collection trip for the next round of experiments

Meet the Researcher


Sarah McAnulty I have been determined to study squid since watching a discovery kids VHS featuring the cuttlefish in 1997. I have been working with cuttlefish, octopuses, and now squid for over 5 years and I love every second of it. When I'm not in the lab, I can be found playing water polo or brewing my own beer.
LinkedIn Profile

Andrea Suria
I'm a Ph.D. student in Molecular and Cell
Biology at the University of Connecticut, focusing in marine microbiology. I've been fascinated by the ocean all my life, and have come to appreciate the roles bacteria play in all ecosystems--in particular, when interacting with other organisms in symbiotic relationships. When not in lab, I enjoy painting, crafting, and baking.

Squid Immune Cells (Hemocytes)

Juvenile squid in a scintillation via

Adult squid

Adult squid
glowing bacteria

Squid Immune Cells with antibody and nuclear stain

Project Backers

ElizabethGorencedavidjamieson14268MaiacfreimillerRosieNashWilliamKrossnerAuroraSollaMatthewNieberleDisgruntledDogRachelHalpernSarahRispoliDeirdreHalloranlozcampbell9JanineBarlowJamesGannonJuliaFerraioliSarah McAnultyceralawrenceDenny LuanElisaCephalopodgalJenniferTemkinMarty Condon, Kristina Ottens, and Glen HoodAnthonyPatelunasAshleyWolfMicheleGarganowildaviesChristinaLancasterBeaIsabelCarpioAllison Lewis and Drew WhamCindy WuJakeNelsonmarcwatsonDebraWeitzelaliciakoebSarahHeileBrookeReginaKinneycamwynSophieWolvinRosaZunigaAbigailWilsonjohnchastinechristineschultheissStevenBakkerCodieScarimlindamcanulty144senselessnoisemichaelzerrilloDanielKoyatajeannicholson56HalSchectmanKateVandersliceGraceNStephenDanielsAndrew Wongjeffstevens31586BrigitHuwylerSuLynRosenberryGavanCookeEricWimberleySnailChimeraxuanhaosunCliffWilliamsDeniseWhatleyKaitlinKimekathydierfieldAndrewCollinsEmmaPostemaTomKazmirchukRebeccaLakeMargaretvonDolterenhilaryreintgesmattinman35EmilyBeckMarkKernesDJonesMeganKellyAndreaTiptonKristinCroweJamesThomasGriffithIIIlindseyquinnwriedtAlysonGagneRubyFlanaganTJAJessiAmbroseDanaParkerBillDevrellSpencerNyholmOscar Jasklowskivaleriekaplan5KimPomeroyGeorgeKCombsGabriel LicinaCleoKentdavyJillSophiaFeinChristopherFrankRyan LowerjhallbachnerAndrea SuriayasmineputriMaryandJackRobertSuranhannahtaftjesselee372019CharlotteOvessonTiffanyHoangBryceHalterMaaackKatrinaDailaNeiburgaAndrewHudsonChrisWebbNicholasLegendreCarinaDSLRmaceelaineAlonsoCordobaKatyCasselmansamanthawhite2173RahennathumywebbAbigailReedEmilyJaneSafronJordanHofmeierUrsulaSmithTheDolgzzzzjuliannakadarDrewHuebnerTessaClarksonJoyceTurpynmmuilwijk1JoshuaRehbeinchinwesleyAbbyBarrejessicarosemccannJveeraraghavanjulieabenson14elizabethday127jubssChristineLaytonMeganYoungAmandaWhitebrianswitekDoubleSixxElizabethNeronskiLinaeaWoodburyCharlesVillaHippsStarRebecca SearlesktbyronNezbitLisaGillettIdaVJaneMitchellSandraDahlhoffDavidJenkinsJoshDraperJavierToquicalizbamfordNicoleMartinezKatelynKinneyPaulGrabaniaChrisKarchDorothyGibbonsnatashaweaverDanielJTMooreAlexandraGelattWayneTurnerShannonClarkKatrinaVelleJoshuaFrederichkylieconlonMJHughesGeorgeGibbonsannemslavenJaneKubelAlexKramerDavidJones1stefanilorensandispiresSarahBSophieAckermanJamesMcAnultyHansHeilmanbrunosuriaSusanAlexandreArianTrefferLaurenNeville