Impact of climate change on the distribution and habitat suitability of the world’s main commercial squids

Climate change is expected to have major negative effects on marine life across phylogenetic groups. Cephalopods, however, have life history characteristics that suggest they may benefit from certain climate change scenarios. Of all cephalopods, squids reach the greatest biomasses; as a result, they are of substantial importance for human and predator consumption. To test the hypothesis that the effects of climate change are beneficial for commercial squid, we used species distribution models on climate scenarios for the period between 2000 and 2014, as well as the years 2050 and 2100 (RCP [representative concentration pathway] 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5; CMIP5). Our results suggest that consequences of climate change scenarios are species specific. In the North Pacific and Northwest Atlantic, squid’s habitat suitability may increase (from + 0.83% [Doryteuthis pealeii] to + 8.77% increase [Illex illecebrosus]), while it is predicted to decrease in other regions (from  − 1.03% [Doryteuthis opalescens] to − 15.04% decrease [Loligo reynaudii]). Increases in habitat suitability occurred mostly at higher latitudes (north of 50° N), while suitable habitat decrease was predicted for the tropical regions. These shifts in future habitat suitability were stronger under harsher emission scenarios. Starting in 2050 (with RCP scenarios 4.6, 6.0 and 8.5), as a result of warming of the Arctic, squid habitat may increase along both coasts of North America. In the Southern Hemisphere, squids may lose habitat with no poleward habitat alternatives to move into. Contrary to our hypothesis, these commercial squid do not stand to benefit from climate change. Since these squid are an important food source for marine megafauna and humans, it is imperative that climate change biogeographic impacts are considered for a sustainable management of this important group of molluscs.


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Authors: Guerreiro, Miguel Fernandes, Borges, Francisco Oliveira, Santos, Catarina Pereira, Xavier, José Carlos ORCIDORCID record for José Carlos Xavier, Hoving, Henk-Jan, Rosa, Rui

1 September, 2023
Marine Biology / 170
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