Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 249–256 | Cite as

Trophic variation with length in two ommastrephid squids, Ommastrephes bartramii and Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis

  • Matthew ParryEmail author
Research Article


From 1998 to 2001 a total of 200 Ommastrephes bartramii (27 paralarvae) and 170 Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis (14 paralarvae) were sampled from the Central North Pacific. One group of non-paralarval O. bartramii (n = 30) was sampled from farther northwest in 1996. The δ15N of mantle muscle of non-paralarval O. bartramii ( \( \overline{x} \) = 12.4‰) was significantly greater than that of non-parlarval S. oualaniensis (\( \overline{x} \) = 8.1‰) (P < 0.001). The δ15N of whole paralarvae of O. bartramii (\( \overline{x} \) = 6.4‰) was not significantly different than parlarvalae of S. oualaniensis (\( \overline{x} \) = 6.1‰) (P = 0.528). There was no significant difference between the mantle muscle δ15N values of male (n = 95, \( \overline{x} \) = 13.3‰) and female (n = 18, \( \overline{x} \) = 12.9 ‰) O. bartramii greater than 300 mm mantle length (ML) (P = 0.15). There was also no significant difference between the mantle muscle δ15N values of male (n = 15, \( \overline{x} \) = 7.2‰) and female (n = 26, \( \overline{x} \) = 7.3 ‰) S. oualaniensis in the same size range (P = 0.41). Overall there was a distinct logistic increase in δ15N with mantle length for O. bartramii, whereas S. oualaniensis showed an exponential increase in δ15N with mantle length that was stronger within individual years than with all samples combined. In general, adult O. bartramii are more than a trophic level above S. oualaniensis (4.3‰, 1.3 TLs). Because of the nature of the sampling protocol, this study could not separate spatial and temporal effects on the δ15N signals from each squid species. This study demonstrates the ability of stable isotope analyses to differentiate trophic levels between squid species as well as track trophic changes across size ranges from paralarvae to adults. Additional research is needed to validate these trophic changes across size within individuals.


Trophic Level High Trophic Level Trophic Position Stomach Content Analysis Mantle Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported in part by the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program, Joint Institution for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii and the U.H. Sea Grant program.


  1. Borgmann U (1987) Models on the slope of, and biomass flow up, the biomass size spectrum. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 44(Suppl 2):136–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cherel Y, Hobson KA (2005) Stable isotopes, beaks, and predators: a new tool to study the trophic ecology of cephalopods, including giant and colossal squids. Proc Roy Soc B 272(1572):1601–1607 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cline JD, Kaplan IR (1975) Isotopic fractionation of dissolved nitrate during denitrification in the eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean. Mar Chem 3:271–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fantle MS, Dittel AI, Schwalm SM, Epifanio CE, Fogel ML (1999) A food web analysis of the juvenile blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, using stable isotopes in whole animals and individual amino acids. Oecologia 120:416–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. France R, Chandler M, Peters R (1998) Mapping trophic continua of benthic foodwebs: body size-δ15N relationships. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 174:301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gould P, Ostrom P, Walker W (1997) Trophic relationships of albatrosses associated with squid and large-mesh drift-net fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean. Can J Zool 75:549–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hobson KA, Welch HE (1992) Determination of trophic relationships within a high Arctic marine food web using δ13C and δ15N analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 84:9–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hobson KA, Piatt JF, Pitocchelli J (1994) Using stable isotopes to determine seabird trophic relationships. J Anim Ecol 63:786–798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hoch MP, Fogel ML, Kirchman DL (1992) Isotope fractionation associated with ammonium uptake by a marine bacterium. Limnol Oceanogr 37(7):1447–1459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kline TC (1997) Confirming forage fish food web dependencies in Prince William Sound using natural stable isotope tracers. Forage Fishes in Marine Ecosystems, Alaska Sea Grant College ProgramGoogle Scholar
  11. Kline TC, Wilson WJ, Goering JJ (1998) Natural isotope indicators of fish migration at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 55:1494–1502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kling GW, Fry B, O’Brien WJ (1992) Stable isotopes and planktonic trophic structure in arctic lakes. Ecology 73(2):561–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liu K, Kaplan IR (1989) The eastern tropical Pacific as a source of 15N-enriched nitrate in seawater off southern California. Limnol Oceanogr 34(5):820–830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mingawa M, Wada E (1986) Stepwise enrichment of 15N along food chains: further evidence and the relation between δ15N and animal age. Geochmica Cosmochimica Acta 48:1135–1140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Montcreif CA, Sullivan MJ (2001) Trophic importance of epiphytic algae in subtropical seagrass beds: evidence from multiple stable isotope analyses. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 215:93–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Parry M (2006) Comparison of the feeding behaviors of two Ommastrephid squids, Ommastrephes bartramii and Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis in the vicinity of Hawaii. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 318:229–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Peters RH, Cabana G, Choulik O, Cohen T, Griesbach O, McCanny SJ (1996) General models for trophic fluxes in animals based on their body size. Ecoscience 3:365–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Petersen BJ, Fry B (1987) Stable isotopes in ecosystem studies. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 18:293–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rau GH, Ainley DG, Bengston JL, Torres JJ, Hopkins TL (1992) 15N/14N and 13C/12C in Weddell Sea birds, seals, and fish: implications for diet and trophic structure. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 84:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ruiz-Cooley RI, Gendron D, Aguiñiga S, Mesnick S, Carriquiry JD (2004) Trophic relationships between sperm whales and jumbo squid using stable isotopes of C and N. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 277:275–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ruiz-Cooley RI, Markaida U, Gendron D, Aguiñiga S (2006) Stable isotopes in jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) beaks to estimate its trophic position: comparison between stomach contents and stable isotopes. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 86:437–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shchetinnikov AS (1992) Feeding spectrum of squid Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis (Oegopsida) in the Eastern Pacific. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 72:849–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sholto-Douglas AD, Field JG, James AG, van der Merwe NJ (1991) 13C/12C and 15N/14N isotope ratios in the Southern Benguela ecosystem: indicators of food web relationships among different size-classes of plankton and pelagic fish; differences between fish muscle and bone collagen tissues. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 78:23–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Takai N, Onaka S, Ikeda Y, Yatsu A, Kidokoro H, Sakamoto W (2000) Geographical variations in carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in squid. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 80:675–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Thomas CJ, Cahoon LB (1993) Stable isotope analyses differentiate between different trophic pathways supporting rocky-reef fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 95:19–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Waser NAD, Harrison PJ, Nielsen B, Calvert SE (1998a) Nitrogen isotope fractionation during the uptake and assimilation of nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, and urea by a marine diatom. Limnol Oceanogr 43(2):215–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Waser NA, Yin K, Yu Z, Tada K, Harrison PJ, Turpin DH, Calvert SE (1998b) Nitrogen isotope fractionation during nitrate, ammonium and urea uptake by marine diatoms and coccolithophores under various conditions of N availability. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 169:29–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Islands Fishery Science CenterNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations