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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 530:119-134 (2015)  -  DOI:

Habitat and trophic ecology of Southern Ocean cephalopods from stable isotope analyses

Miguel Guerreiro1,*, Richard A. Phillips2, Yves Cherel3, Filipe R. Ceia1, Pedro Alvito1, Rui Rosa4, José C. Xavier1,2

1MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Coimbra, 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal
2British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom
3Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, UMR 7372 du CNRS-Université de La Rochelle, BP 14, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
4Laboratório Marítimo da Guia, Centro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Nossa Senhora do Cabo, 939, 2750-374 Cascais, Portugal
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Although cephalopods play a critical role in marine food webs both as predators and prey, there is a limited knowledge of several basic aspects of their ecology, including their habitat and trophic level, in the Southern Ocean. We examined the ecological role of several Southern Ocean cephalopod species by analyzing δ13C and δ15N values in lower cephalopod beaks obtained from diet samples of wandering albatross Diomedea exulans from South Georgia (Atlantic Ocean), and from Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (Indian Ocean). Beak δ13C values ranged from -25.7 to -17.9‰, and were used to assign different cephalopod species to the subtropical, sub-Antarctic or Antarctic Zones. Beak δ15N values were more variable among species, ranging from 2.4 to 13.3‰, a difference of ~11‰ that represents approx. 3 trophic levels. Differences among islands in isotope ratios in the same cephalopod species (higher δ15N and lower δ13C values in South Georgia) were attributed to regional oceanographic processes. Antarctic cephalopods occupy niches similar to those found in some pelagic fish, seabirds and marine mammals. As cephalopods are key components in Southern Ocean food webs, these results greatly advance our understanding of the structure, energy and carbon flows in this polar ecosystem.

KEY WORDS: Southern Ocean · Pelagic ecosystem · Distribution · Foraging ecology · Kondakovia longimana · Diet

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Cite this article as: Guerreiro M, Phillips RA, Cherel Y, Ceia FR, Alvito P, Rosa R, Xavier JC (2015) Habitat and trophic ecology of Southern Ocean cephalopods from stable isotope analyses. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 530:119-134.

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