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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 384:159-174 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08035

Modelling size-at-age in wild immature female octopus: a bioenergetics approach

Jessica André1,*, Gretta T. Pecl1, Eric P. M. Grist2, Jayson M. Semmens1, Malcolm Haddon3, Stephen C. Leporati1

1Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Marine Research Laboratories, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 49, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
2Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, UHI Millenium Institute, Castle Street, Thurso, Caithness KW14 7JD, UK
3CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia

ABSTRACT: The population dynamics of cephalopods are poorly understood because intra-specific size-at-age is characteristically variable. Much of the variation observed is attributed to temperature and food, but other generally overlooked factors such as hatchling size and inherent growth capacities also affect size-at-age. In the present paper, we investigated the relative influence of the principal abiotic (environmental temperature) and biotic (food consumption, hatchling size, inherent growth capacity) factors affecting size-at-age in immature octopus. Using a bioenergetics model and size-at-age data of wild-caught immature Octopus pallidus, we simulated the juvenile growth trajectories of individuals hatched in different seasons (summer, autumn and winter) based on food availability, metabolism, environmental temperature and individual variability, under an assumption of 2-phase growth. Simulations predict that the effect of hatchling size on size-at-age was secondary to that of inherent growth capacity. Projections suggest that wild immature populations comprise a mixture of individuals displaying exponential growth and 2-phase growth and that the proportion of each depends primarily on the individuals’ inherent growth capacities and food availability. High food intake was projected to decrease the number of individuals displaying 2-phase growth by delaying the transition between the 2 growth phases, resulting in larger individuals. Overall, individuals hatched in summer grew to larger sizes and matured earlier than individuals hatched in autumn or winter, independent of food availability. The size-at-age distribution of the summer and autumn cohorts tended to become bimodal under certain food intake levels, which highlights the importance of coupling size data with accurate age estimates in future octopus population studies.


KEY WORDS: Early life history · Energy balance · Individual-based model · Pale octopus


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Cite this article as: André J, Pecl GT, Grist EPM, Semmens JM, Haddon M, Leporati SC (2009) Modelling size-at-age in wild immature female octopus: a bioenergetics approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 384:159-174. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08035

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