Remotely sensed mesoscale oceanography of the central Eastern Pacific and recruitment variability in Dosidicus gigas
ABSTRACT: The Jumbo flying squid Dosidicus gigas has a short life span and is subject to rapid
changes in population size. This species inhabits the Eastern Pacific, one of the most variable oceanic
environments in the world, subject to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This study examined
the influence of environmental variability on squid abundance off Peru using mesoscale oceanographic
indicators derived from remotely sensed satellite imagery. In the fishery area off Peru, squid
abundance was positively associated with sea surface temperatures (SST) between 17 and 22°C during
July, corresponding to the peak of the fishery season. In the putative hatching area close to the
Costa Rica Dome, squid abundance was positively associated with SST of between 24 and 28°C during
September, prior to the start of the fishery season. Squid abundance is apparently strongly influenced
by mesoscale variability linked to ENSO, with low levels of upwelling during the very strong
El Niño of 1997 to 1998 leading to very low catches of squid off Peru. Variability in upwelling off Peru
and in the Costa Rica Dome region may drive primary and secondary production and transport processes
affecting the planktonic early life stages and also the availability of food and suitable habitat
for adult squid.
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