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Interannual variability of Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) occurrence in the northern California Current System is largely unknown. In Oregon, the distribution of this versatile predator and what is influencing their range expansion from Mexico is poorly understood due to the recent nature of their “invasion” and a lack of monitoring. Humboldt squid are large predators that have the potential to affect ecosystem structure and fisheries because of their high-energy demands and ability to exploit a variety of oceanographic conditions and prey sources. Developing baseline distribution information is a critical first step to assess their potential ecological, social, and economic impacts, and to develop models to predict future range expansion.
This study has two main objectives: (1) to document where and when Humboldt squid have been present in Oregon through cooperative fisheries research, and (2) to correlate the sightings with oceanographic conditions using a geographic information system (GIS) and species distribution modeling (SDM). I conducted 54 interviews with local fishermen and aggregated their squid sightings with available fishery-independent survey and fishery-dependent observer data from the National Marine Fisheries Service. I compiled a total of 339 Humboldt squid sightings, reported for the years 2002-2011 from the Oregon coast to 131° west longitude. Correlation analyses were performed for Humboldt squid sightings and sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll a content (chla), sea surface height anomalies (SSH), dissolved oxygen at 30 m depth (30 m DO), and sea surface salinity (SSS) using a GIS, nonparametric multiplicative regression (NPMR) habitat modeling, and maximum entropy modeling (Maxent). Results indicate that oceanographic conditions have the potential to influence Humboldt squid occurrence, and in Oregon, sightings vary temporally and spatially. Combining the sightings from fishermen and scientific surveys greatly enhanced the spatial extent of the data. Humboldt squid were most frequently observed between 124.4°W and 125°W in proximity to the shelf-break at the 200 m isobath, with peak sightings (116) recorded in 2009 and the fewest (6) reported in 2003 and 2011. The highest occurrence of Humboldt squid were observed at a SST of 10.5-13.0°C, 0.26-3.0 mg m-3 chla content, -4.0-1.0 m SSH anomalies, 32.2-32.8 psu SSS, and at 3-4.5 ml L-1 and 6-7 ml L-1 30 m depth DO. Maps of estimated likelihood of occurrence generated by NPMR were consistent with overlayed observations from fishermen, which were not used in the model because they were limited to presence-only information.
An interdisciplinary approach that incorporates cooperative fisheries research and ecosystem-based management is necessary for monitoring Humboldt squid in Oregon. Traditional methods are insufficient because Humboldt squid are data-poor, highly migratory, and are main predators of many commercially important fisheries in Oregon. Based on my findings, sightings recorded by fishermen covered a much larger area over a longer time frame than the scientific survey and observer data, and excluding their knowledge would have led to a different interpretation of Humboldt squid distribution and environmental tolerances. Although there is uncertainty in the data from potential map bias or misidentification of smaller Humboldt squid, incorporating sightings from fishermen with traditional fisheries research increases the quantity and quality of information. Cooperative monitoring for Humboldt squid could include training in species identification and sea condition reporting in logbooks. Future “invasions” are likely, and more eyes on the water will improve our understanding of the behavior and impacts of Humboldt squid on coastal resources.
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