, Volume 159, Issue 9, pp 2105-2116
Date: 14 Jul 2012

Tracking habitat and resource use for the jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas: a stable isotope analysis in the Northern Humboldt Current System

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To determine the habitat and resource use of Dosidicus gigas in the Northern Humboldt Current System, we analysed carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes of 234 individuals collected during 2008–2010. Large variations in mantle stable isotope ratios were recorded, with values ranging from −19.1 to −15.1 ‰ (δ13C) and from 7.4 to 20.5 ‰ (δ15N). Most of the variation was explained by latitude, followed by distance to shelf break for carbon and by squid size for nitrogen. Latitudinal variations with increasing values from north to south were also found in zooplankton samples and were related to changes in isotope baseline values probably due to oxygen minimum zones that occur off Peru. This similar latitudinal trend in both zooplankton and D. gigas samples reveals that D. gigas is a relatively resident species at the scale of its isotopic turnover rate (i.e. a few weeks), even if this is not necessarily the case at the scale of its life. A small but significant size effect on δ13C values suggests that jumbo squid perform offshore–onshore ontogenic migration, with juveniles distributed offshore. For nitrogen, the high inter-individual variability observed with mantle length indicates that D. gigas can prey on a high variety of resources at any stage of their life cycle. This large-scale study off the coast of Peru provides further evidence that D. gigas have the capability to explore a wide range of habitats and resources at any stage of their life.

Communicated by C. Harrod.