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MEPS 659:113-126 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13551

From warm to cold waters: new insights into the habitat and trophic ecology of Southern Ocean squids throughout their life cycle

José P. Queirós1,2,*, Ana Hilário1,3, David R. Thompson4, Filipe R. Ceia2, Graeme Elliott5, Kath Walker5, Yves Cherel6, José C. Xavier2,7

1Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2University of Coimbra, Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Department of Life Sciences, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
3Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM), Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
4National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington 6021, New Zealand
5Albatross Research, Nelson 7011, New Zealand
6Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC), UMR 7372 du CNRS-La Rochelle Université, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
7British Antarctic Survey (BAS), NERC, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Cephalopods play a major role in marine ecosystems, yet very little is known about the dynamics of their habitat use and trophic ecology across the stages of their life cycle, particularly in the Southern Ocean. Here, we used stable isotope analyses of δ13C (a proxy for foraging habitat) and δ15N (a proxy for trophic position) to investigate the habitat use and trophic ecology of 10 squid species, collected from the diet of Antipodean (Diomedea antipodensis antipodensis) and Gibson’s (D. a. gibsoni) albatrosses breeding at Antipodes and Adams Island (South Pacific), respectively. We analyzed isotopes in 2 sections of squid lower beaks, representing 2 stages of the life cycle: the tip of the rostrum (juvenile stage) and the wing (adult stage). Higher δ13C values in early life stages (-20.8 ± 1.7‰) than in adult life stages (-21.6 ± 1.9‰) suggest that Southern Ocean squids tend to move southwards as they grow, with oceanic fronts being an important habitat for these species. Our results also suggest that adults may move southwards with climate change, possibly impacting top predators living on northern islands. Overall, δ15N values revealed an increase in trophic position from early (6.7 ± 2.7‰) to adult life stages (9.0 ± 2.5‰) in all species. Nevertheless, significant differences between δ15N values of the 10 species, in both beak sections, suggest different feeding strategies between species and life stages.


KEY WORDS: Ontogenetic changes · Antarctica · Cephalopods · Stable isotopes · Climate change · South Pacific


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Cite this article as: Queirós JP, Hilário A, Thompson DR, Ceia FR and others (2021) From warm to cold waters: new insights into the habitat and trophic ecology of Southern Ocean squids throughout their life cycle. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 659:113-126. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13551

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