Historical mass strandings of jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean: patterns and possible causes

Christian M. Ibáñez, Gaston A. Bazzino, Maria de los Angeles Gallardo, Gonzalo S. Saldías, Rui Rosa, Sergio A. Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Mass stranding events of different taxonomic groups are periodic in certain coastal regions worldwide, but the underlying causes for these occurrences are not yet fully understood. In the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), the most frequent and documented mass strandings correspond to the jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas, but the different hypotheses proposed to explain this phenomenon fail to predict it. Here, we assembled a database with historical stranding occurrences from the nineteenth century to 2022, highlighting the dramatic increase in strandings since the year 2000 along the EPO. The most common regions for jumbo squid strandings in the northern hemisphere are USA and Mexico, whereas in the southern hemisphere these events have mostly occurred in Chile. In both hemispheres the strandings are frequent in summer months. Although we assessed different hypothetical causes (e.g., post-spawning mortality, high temperatures, toxins from harmful algal blooms, human disturbance), we did not find enough evidence to support any of them. Besides, the need to experimentally test the plausible cause(s), we also discuss an alternative ecophysiological hypothesis associated with upwelling shadows and the species’ diel migratory behavior, highlighting the importance of stranding events as key components of global nutrient cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Dosidicus gigas
  • Mortality
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Physiology
  • Upwelling shadow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science


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