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New book aids squid identification

Octopus (probably Pareledone sp.)
Octopus (probably Pareledone sp.)

Presentation summary for the IPY Science Conference 2010 in Oslo by José Xavier

The first definitive guide to Antarctica’s top predators will be presented on Wednesday 9 June at the International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference — the largest assembly of polar scientists in history.

Made possible only by the global collaborative effort of the International Polar Year (IPY 2007–2008), a new book focuses on the relationship between marine life and its environment, and the sustainability of marine life, providing essential knowledge for the management of global food security.

The most important aspect of sustainable management of the Southern Ocean ecosystem is to understand the food chain and “who eats whom”. Scientists have developed a range of techniques to identify the species eaten by top predators such as albatrosses, seals, penguins and whales including identifying the squid and octopuses (cephalopods) found in the predators’ diets, which are an essential source of food for these charismatic animals. They are also highly valued by humans and are fished commercially.

Session information

Speaker:
Dr. José Xavier

Contact:
Tel: 00351 936728419
Email: jccx@cantab.net

Wednesday 9 June @ 09.30
Session: T3-8

Accurate identification of cephalopods is difficult in the diets and can be done mainly by examining the bone-like structure that forms their beaks (mandibles). During the IPY, José Xavier and Yves Cherel developed a guide characterising the beaks of Antarctic squid and octopuses of the Southern Ocean. It has become essential reading for all researchers involved in programmes that monitor changes to the Southern Ocean ecosystem and inform the sustainable management of commercial fishing, like those developed by Dr Richard Phillips (Tel: +44 (0)1223 221610; Email: raphil@bas.ac.uk)