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Trophic structure of Southern Ocean squid: a cross-basin analysis of stable isotopes in archived beaks from predator stomachs


Woods, BL and Walters, A and Hindell, M and Revill, AT and Field, I and McCormack, SA and Cherel, Y and Trebilco, R, Trophic structure of Southern Ocean squid: a cross-basin analysis of stable isotopes in archived beaks from predator stomachs, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 685 pp. 137-152. ISSN 0171-8630 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Inter-Research 2022

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps13990


Cephalopods are an important component of Southern Ocean food webs, but aspects of their trophic ecology remain unresolved. Here, we used archived squid (order Teuthida) beaks, collected from stomach contents of predators at Macquarie and Kerguelen Islands, to investigate the trophic structure within an assemblage of pelagic squids (Alluroteuthis antarcticus, Filippovia knipovitchi, Gonatus antarcticus, Histioteuthis eltaninae, Martialia hyadesi and Brachioteuthis linkovskyi). We combined bulk nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15Nbulk) with compound-specific isotope analysis of amino acids (CSIA-AA) to estimate the trophic position (TP) of species and to assess isotopic relationships with body size at the species, community, and ocean basin levels. We observed significantly higher mean δ15Nbulk values for species at the Kerguelen Islands compared to conspecifics at Macquarie Island. This result was explained by regional variability in δ15N values of phenylalanine (δ15NPhe), suggesting that predator species were accessing different isotopic baselines at each region. This may highlight the different foraging strategies of both species. The overlap in species TP estimates from CSIA-AA (TPCSIA) between the 2 communities (Macquarie Island TPCSIA min: 2.3, max: 5.3; Kerguelen Islands TPCSIA min: 2.7, max: 5.3) indicated a similar trophic structure at both locations. We note unrealistically low TPCSIA for some species, which we attribute to uncertainty of trophic discrimination factors. TP estimates suggested that squid encompass 3 trophic levels from mid-trophic levels to higher predators. We did not find strong or consistent relationships between TP and body size at either the species- or community-level. One of the largest squid species, M. hyadesi, occupied the lowest TP in both communities. These new insights into the trophic structure of the Southern Ocean squid community have important implications for the future representation of pelagic squids in ecosystem models.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:allometry, biochemical tracers, CSIA-AA, nitrogen, trophic position, cephalopods, Antarctic, mesopelagic
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Woods, BL (Ms Briannyn Woods)
UTAS Author:Walters, A (Dr Andrea Walters)
UTAS Author:Hindell, M (Professor Mark Hindell)
UTAS Author:Field, I (Dr Iain Field)
UTAS Author:McCormack, SA (Dr Stacey McCormack)
UTAS Author:Trebilco, R (Dr Rowan Trebilco)
ID Code:150203
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-06-01
Last Modified:2022-11-02

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