Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Charles Messing, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bernhard Riegl, Ph.D.


Cephalopods are both important predators and prey in many marine environments and important fishery resources in many countries. The global fishery has expanded almost continuously from landings of 580,000 metric tonnes in 1950 to over 4 m.t. in 2007. Cephalopods are ecological opportunists with highly plastic biological characteristics and varied population dynamics. Nearly all commercially harvested species are short-lived and can reproduce quickly, enabling them to evolve more rapidly under high selection pressure relative to many fish competitors and predators. As a result, they may have the biological means to be successful under conditions of long-term global climate change. This capstone reviews current information on cephalopod life history, morphology and taxonomy, population dynamics, and recruitment as they relate to fishery assessments, proper management, associated gear, and the impacts of their proper or improper use. Despite the adaptive capabilities of cephalopods, the sustainability of heavy fishing effort will be questioned in the future as the impacts of socio-cultural values and economic importance continue to rise across the globe. The correlation between increased oceanic temperatures and the global proliferation of cephalopods may be inferred from the literature; however, this does not provide direct causality, nor does it suggest that cephalopods may be fished extensively without proper management and guidance. Future endeavors to promote stock and population sustainability via proper management and assessments will increase the likelihood of enjoying cephalopod products in all of their forms across the globe.