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Internship Opportunity

Abundance and Distribution of cephalopod paralarvae in the Gulf of Mexico

Posted on: 01/09/2018
Research Area(s): Internships / General

Summary / Description

Fisheries for cephalopods exist in many coastal and pelagic ecosystems around the globe reaching a maximum landing of 4.3 million tons in 2007. The majority of the landings are from squid, but other cephalopods such as octopus and cuttlefish are fished for food or bait. Although there are some squid landings in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), fisheries here focus mainly on other invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs. However, cephalopods are an important link in the trophic dynamics as a predator of commercial fisheries species such as mackerel, herring, menhaden, and anchovies. In the GOM, adult cephalopods are selective prey to a variety of tunas, billfish, whales, and seabirds. As a critical link in the trophodynamics of the GOM, examining the distribution and abundance of cephalopods can help gain understanding in the fluctuations of a variety of commercially and ecologically significant species higher in the trophic structure. The objective of this project is to examine the abundance and distribution of cephalopod paralarvae collected during the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) ichthyoplankton surveys. Cephalopod paralarvae are the early life stages (from hatching to sub-adult) of cephalopod taxa including a variety of squid, octopus, and cuttlefish. The overall goal of the SEAMAP plankton surveys is to provide information on the early life history of federally managed fisheries species such as red snapper. However, due to the ichthyoplankton sampling design, cephalopod paralarvae are also collected in these samples. The information gathered from SEAMAP plankton survyes can be used to calculate abundances and map distribution of the paralarvae in the same manner as larval red snapper. Examination and identification of preserved specimens will provide the information needed to examine the early life history stages of cephalopods in the northern GOM. This project will be a first attempt to describe Gulfwide distribution and abundances of paralarvae from a variety of cephalopod species from SEAMAP surveys.

Skills Required

Willingness to work outdoors, as well as at a microscope. General laboratory skills are helpful. Ability to work as part of a research team. Ability to pay attention to details, yet have an interest in broad scale ecological processes.


NOAA Mississippi Laboratory/Pascagoula, MS

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:
Andre Debose
Number of Slots Available:
Is free housing available:
Can international students be placed:

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