Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 685–697 | Cite as

Cephalopods of the Sargasso Sea: distribution patterns in relation to oceanography

  • Alexandra LischkaEmail author
  • Uwe Piatkowski
  • Reinhold Hanel
Recent Advances in Knowledge of Cephalopod Biodiversity


Here, we report on a comprehensive collection of mainly early life cephalopods that were sampled during a research cruise to the Sargasso Sea with the RV Maria S. Merian in April 2015. A total of 2466 cephalopods were caught which belonged to at least 27 species (17 families). The most abundant family was represented by the hooked squids (Onychoteuthidae) with a share of 19.18% of the total cephalopod catch. The subtropical convergence zone (STCZ) was found approximately around 27 °N. The STCZ was characterised by a sharp near-surface temperature gradient and divided the Sargasso Sea into a northern and a southern area. This division was also reflected in the cephalopod community composition. For example, the cranchiid Leachia lemur prevailed in the northern part, and the incirrate octopod, Japetella diaphana, was mainly distributed in the southern part of the study area. Principal component analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA) analyses detected a significant correlation between species occurrence and sea surface temperature (SST) as well as a longitudinal gradient with distinct clusters along the five transects from west to east. Ordination analysis (MDS) showed significant differences in the cephalopod assemblages between day and night with midwater forms (Enoploteuthidae, Pyroteuthidae) dominating the night catches, probably due to their upward migration into the top 200 m during the night.


Cephalopods Distribution Sargasso Sea Cephalopod diversity Subtropical convergence zone 



We thank the captain and crew of RV Maria S. Merian for their skillful support during station work and the excellent time on board. Dr. Michael Miller provided the station map, Dr. Håkan Westerberg helped in explaining the oceanographic data, and Dr. Rabea Diekmann provided valuable help in the statistical analysis. This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grant MerMet 14–46 (SEA-EELS).

Supplementary material

12526_2016_629_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1131 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Lischka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uwe Piatkowski
    • 1
  • Reinhold Hanel
    • 2
  1. 1.GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Thünen Institute of Fisheries EcologyHamburgGermany

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