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The ecological role of cephalopods and their representation in ecosystem models

Authors
  • de la Chesnais, Thibaut1, 2
  • Fulton, Elizabeth A.2
  • Tracey, Sean R.1
  • Pecl, Gretta T.1
  • 1 University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia , Hobart (Australia)
  • 2 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia , Hobart (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2019
Volume
29
Issue
2
Pages
313–334
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11160-019-09554-2
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Cephalopods, especially squids, are believed to have a structuring role in marine ecosystems as a link between different trophic levels, primarily due to their voracious prey consumption and high production rate. Cephalopod ecology, however, is still poorly understood as observational studies often give highly uncertain and variable results due to the peculiarities of cephalopod behaviour and biology, and their responsiveness to external drivers. This review evaluates our representation of cephalopods in ecosystem models and the insights given by these models on the role of cephalopods in our oceans. We examined ecosystem models from 13 regions to analyse the representation of cephalopods and compared their results to local trophic studies. Our analysis indicated that most ecosystem models inadequately include cephalopods in terms of model structure and parametrization; although some models still have the capacity to draw valuable conclusions regarding the impact and role of cephalopods within the system. Oceanic squid species have a major role linking trophic levels and food webs from different habitats. The importance of neritic species varies locally, but generally cephalopods have a substantial impact via their consumer role. To better understand the ecological role of cephalopods, improved representation of these species in ecosystem models is a critical requirement and could be achieved relatively easily to more accurately articulate the mechanisms regulating the ecological role of cephalopods.

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