Jun 12
Life history

Chairs of ICES Working Group on Cephalopod Fisheries and Life History (WGCEPH) Jean-Paul Robin and Marina Santurtún.

chairs WGCEPH.JPG 

'In biology life history describes all the different stages experienced by an organism during its life, in particular from its birth (or hatching) to its reproduction and contribution to population renewal. Life history concerns biological phenomena related to individual development (ontogeny, growth and biological cycle) but also changes that will concern a whole cohort (demographic term for the group of individuals born during the same reproduction period), like the migration cycle and related changes in habitats.

Life history parameters are the basis of the assumptions behind the models through which the population dynamics of fished resources is studied. For example, age at first sexual maturity is necessary to estimate the mature fraction of the population capable of reproducing (known as the spawning stock biomass). From an evolutionary perspective the influence of fishing pressure on life histories can select for slower growth and more precocious sexual maturation (at least when the exploitation focuses on larger individuals).

In the analysis of cephalopod stocks, life history is an important consideration especially because these species have life histories that are quite different from those of most finfish such as a short life span, death after one reproductive episode, and exponential growth. Life history parameters are also very variable and influenced by latitude and environmental conditions. Life history may also follow several different paths like summer or winter breeding. For instance, in Scottish waters the long-finned squid is recruited (survives to be added to the population) in late summer, but a secondary appearance of recruits is sometimes observed in April. The long-finned squid only has a one-year lifespan and the abundance at the exploited stage (fish caught) depends on the amount of recruits.'

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