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Cephalopods of the Sargasso Sea: distribution patterns in relation to oceanography

Here, we report on a comprehensive collection of mainly early life cephalopods that were sampled during a research cruise to the Sargasso Sea with the RV Maria S. Merian in April 2015. A total of 2466 cephalopods were caught which belonged to at least 27 species (17 families). The most abundant family was represented by the hooked squids (Onychoteuthidae) with a share of 19.18% of the total cephalopod catch. The subtropical convergence zone (STCZ) was found approximately around 27 °N. The STCZ was characterised by a sharp nearsurface temperature gradient and divided the Sargasso Sea into a northern and a southern area. This division was also reflected in the cephalopod community composition. For example, the cranchiid Leachia lemur prevailed in the northern part, and the incirrate octopod, Japetella diaphana, was mainly distributed in the southern part of the study area. Principal component analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA) analyses detected a significant correlation between species occurrence and sea surface temperature (SST) as well as a longitudinal gradient with distinct clusters along the five transects from west to east. Ordination analysis (MDS) showed significant differences in the cephalopod assemblages between day and night with midwater forms (Enoploteuthidae, yroteuthidae) dominating the night catches, probably due to their upwardmigration into the top 200m during the night.



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