Alvaro Roura

Alvaro Roura

PhD in Marine Ecology
Technical Director of the company OCTOLARVAE S.L.

About

107
Publications
26,835
Reads
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831
Citations
Introduction
My research combines next generation sequencing with oceanography to understand the ecology of planktonic stages of cephalopods in coastal upwellings, mainly Octopus vulgaris: their diet, intestinal flora and dispersal. My research aims to understand O. vulgaris larvae in the wild, to apply such knowledge for Octopus aquaculture. Complementary, I study molecular trophic links, cephalopod biodiversity, mesozooplankton communities and parasitic/epibiontic relationships.
Additional affiliations
April 2021 - March 2022
Octolarvae
Position
  • Technical Director
Description
  • Technical Director of the company Octolarvae S.L., whose aim is to research and develop the aquaculture of the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
April 2017 - March 2021
Armadora Pereira S.A.
Position
  • Group Leader
Description
  • Leading scientist of the Aquaculture Dpt. of Armadora Pereira S.A., coordinating the projects AQUOPUS and OCTOBLUE to develop the aquaculture of Octopus vulgaris.
June 2014 - May 2016
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Two year postdoc with a "Barrie" grant and a project financed by La Trobe University (SFWE, RFA funds) to study the molecular ecology of Octopus vulgaris paralarvae in the ocean. http://molecularbiodiversity.wordpress.com/people/337-2/
Education
September 2002 - July 2007
University of Alicante
Field of study
  • Marine Biology

Publications

Publications (107)
Article
Full-text available
The trophic ecology of Octopus vulgaris paralarvae collected in 2008 off the Ría de Vigo, NW Spain (42° 12.80′ N–9° 00.00′ W), was approached by both morphological and molecular methods. External digestion of prey and posterior suction of the liquefied contents by wild O. vulgaris paralarvae made the morphological identification of gut contents imp...
Article
Full-text available
The short-term, meso-scale variability of the mesozooplankton community present in the coastal upwelling system of the Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) has been analysed. Three well-defined communities were identified: coastal, frontal and oceanic, according to their holoplankton-meroplankton ratio, richness, and total abundance. These communities change...
Article
Full-text available
Guerra, Á., Roura, Á., González, Á. F., Pascual, S., Cherel, Y., and Pérez-Losada, M. 2010. Morphological and genetic evidence that Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797 inhabits Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands (southern Indian Ocean). – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 67: 1401–1407. The coastal octopus at Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands is Octopus vulga...
Article
The early life stages of cephalopods - octopods, squids, sepiolids and ommastrephids -, are uncommon in zooplankton samples and little is known about their life strategies. Accordingly, cephalopod paralarvae were examined in the upwelling ecosystem of the Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) at night from 2008 to 2010. Multivariate analyses and generalized linea...
Article
Several specimens of Alepisaurus ferox Lowe, 1833 were caught in the coastal Galician waters (Northwest Spain). From two preserved specimens, morphometric and meristic parameters, along with DNA barcoding, confirmed the identification of the specimens. Examination of the stomach contents revealed a diverse diet with up to 13 different preys with on...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Zooplankton identification guide of the NE Atlantic, compilled at the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas de Vigo (IIM-CSIC, Spain) and La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia). The guide is in spanish and hopefully in a near future will be translated also to English. Hope you enjoy it as we did identifying these outsatnding creatures!
Poster
Full-text available
Groundbreaking results of the Project OCTOBLUE, financed by the private company Armadora Pereira and carried out at the Estación de Ciencias Mariñas de Toralla (ECIMAT, University of Vigo) between 2019-2021.
Poster
Full-text available
Summary of some of the feeding experiments carried out with juveniles reared in captivity during the Project OCTOBLUE. Financed by Armadora Pereira and CDTI. Carried out at the Estación de Ciencias Marinas de Toralla (ECIMAT, Universidad de Vigo)
Conference Paper
This groundbreaking work summarizes the complete life cycle of Octopus vulgaris reared in captivity, from eggs until their very last day, which was presented as an oral presentation at the international congress Aquaculture Europe 2020. This work was carried during the projects AQUOPUS (2017-2019) and OCTOBLUE (2019-2021), at the IIM-CSIC and ECI...
Article
Trophic interactions in cephalopod paralarvae are difficult to evaluate due to the ingestion of liquified prey contents that are not recognizable by visual methods; however, molecular techniques such as next generation sequencing (NGS) can provide better resolution. In this study, we used NGS techniques to determine the diet of Loligo vulgaris para...
Article
Full-text available
The common octopus Octopus vulgaris Cuvier, 1797, once considered a cosmopolitan species, is a species complex composed by six species: O. tetricus, O. cf tetricus and O. sinensis in the Pacific; type I and II, in the West Atlantic; and type III in the Indian Ocean around South Africa. The tropical western central Atlantic is an important octopus f...
Article
Squids belonging to the cephalopod family Loliginidae have an important economic value for the small-scale fisheries in Galicia and recreative fishing. Early life stages of loliginids are studied along the Iberian coast to forecast their population abundance based on correct species identification, but visual identification of the paralarvae is not...
Article
Squids belonging to the cephalopod family Loliginidae have an important economic value for the small-scale fisheries in Galicia and recreative fishing. Early life stages of loliginids are studied along the Iberian coast to forecast their population abundance based on correct species identification, but visual identification of the paralarvae is not...
Presentation
Full-text available
El cultivo de pulpo común (Octopus vulgaris) ha sido uno de los mayores rompecabezas de la acuicultura española en las últimas décadas, debido a las dificultades de completar la etapa larvaria con supervivencias adecuadas. Sin embargo, recientemente se han realizado notables avances en esta fase larvaria que aventuran el cierre del ciclo en cautivi...
Article
Full-text available
Within the context of global climate change and overfishing of fish stocks, there is some evidence that cephalopod populations are benefiting from this changing setting. These invertebrates show enhanced phenotypic flexibility and are found from polar regions to the tropics. Yet, the global patterns of species richness in coastal cephalopods are no...
Presentation
Full-text available
Rearing common octopus in captivity is one of the greatest challenges of aquaculture, with many questions still to be solved, especially during the planktonic stage. In this work, we present a behaviour never seen before in captivity: cannibalism during the paralarval stage. Overall, 304 cases of cannibalism were recorded in three experiments, whic...
Poster
Full-text available
The statocysts from two different common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) paralarvae were examined, one incubated by the female in the natural environment and another in the laboratory at 23ºC. We detected a high prevalence of malformations in statoliths from paralarvae incubated in the laboratory. We also observed that the proportion of paralarvae with...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many marine species once considered to be cosmopolitan are now recognised as cryptic species complexes. Mitochondrial markers are ubiquitously used to address phylogeographic questions, and have been used to identify some cryptic species complexes; however, their efficacy in inference of evolutionary processes in the nuclear genome has not been tho...
Article
The planktonic paralarval stage of cephalopods (octopus, squids and cuttlefishes) is an important dispersal phase, particularly of benthic species, that lasts from days to months. Cephalopod paralarvae modify their vertical position in the water in upwelling ecosystems and such behaviour influences their spatial distribution and genetic structure,...
Article
The salivary apparatus of the common octopus ( Octopus vulgaris ) has been the subject of biochemical study for over a century. A combination of bioassays, behavioural studies and molecular analysis on O. vulgaris and related species suggests that its proteome should contain a mixture of highly potent neurotoxins and degradative proteins. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Global ecosystem models are essential tools for predicting climate change impacts on marine systems. Modeled biogenic carbon fluxes in the ocean often match measured data poorly and part of this could be because small copepods (<2 mm) are modeled as unicellular feeders grazing on phytoplankton and microzooplankton. The most abundant copepods from a...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate species classification is essential to understand complete life cycles of cephalopods. Identifying freshly caught or fixed loliginid paralarvae to species level with the traditional taxonomic guides is challenging. Therefore, the aim of this work was to identify genetically loliginid paralarvae captured in NW Spain (a region where at least...
Article
Full-text available
The systematics of the comb-fin squid species is problematic and poorly resolved. In total, 53 specimens of comb-fin squids (Chtenopteryx spp.) were caught at depths ranging from 30 to 800 m off the Canary Islands (NE Atlantic Ocean). Mantle lengths of the individuals ranged from 18 to 43 mm and the sample included immature, mature male and mature...
Presentation
Full-text available
Accurate species classification is essential to understand complete life-cycles and life-history strategies of cephalopods. Identifying freshly caught loliginid paralarvae to species level with traditional taxonomic guides is difficult, and classifying fixed paralarvae is exceptionally challenging. Hence, the aim of this work was the accurate genet...
Poster
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to identify genetically the cephalopod paralarvae captured in the Ría the Vigo in order to assess species richness. Additionally, we aimed to evaluate the influence of hydrographical variability and the spatio-temporal differences in cephalopod richness Total paralarvae N = 1328 N = 333 SURVEYS 30 night-time and 4 daytime...
Article
The oegopsid squid family Onychoteuthidae was recently revised based on morphology, but sufficient material for a complementary molecular analysis has not been available until now. In the present study, over 250 sequences of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 16S rRNA for 222 individuals were analysed to create a combined phylogeny for the fa...
Article
Full-text available
Sepiolid paralarvae are poorly studied, at least in part, because of the difficulty of accurate identification using morphological analysis. To unravel the biodiversity of sepiolid paralarvae collected in the Ría de Vigo during the upwelling season (2012–2014), and to overcome the difficulties of traditional identification, sepiolid paralarvae were...
Presentation
Full-text available
The high mortality of cephalopod paralarvae in captivity, owing to the lack of appropriate feeding protocols, prevents commercial culture of these important resources. Molecular tools, particularly next generation sequencing could increase our knowledge of their natural diet, and help developing suitable feed for rearing paralarvae. We identified t...
Article
Full-text available
The common octopus Octopus vulgaris is a highly valuable species worldwide, but to understand its population dynamics and requirements under culture conditions, it is crucial to improve our knowledge about its planktonic stages. Previous studies validating daily beak growth increments in these stages allowed age estimation and comparison of wild an...
Article
Full-text available
Octopus vulgaris is a species of great interest in research areas such as neurobiology, ethology, and ecology but also a candidate species for aquaculture as a food resource and for alleviating the fishing pressure on its wild populations. This study aimed to characterize the predatory behavior of O. vulgaris paralarvae and to quantify their digest...
Article
Full-text available
INTRODUCCIÓN La luz. La luz nos ilumina y posibilita la vida en nuestro planeta. La mayoría de ecosistemas terrestres dependen directamente de la energía lumínica para desarrollarse. Y, por ello, quizás cueste entender que exista vida sin luz. Pero si pensamos en el océano, ¿qué domina la mayor extensión de agua del planeta? La oscuridad. En el océ...
Article
Full-text available
Under the influence of the Western Iberian upwelling system, the Iberian Atlantic coast holds important hatcheries and recruitment areas for Octopus vulgaris. Recently identified as an octopus hatchery, the Ría de Vigo harbors an important mesozooplankton community that supports O. vulgaris paralarvae during the first days of their planktonic stage...
Data
Effect on the number of reads obtained per sample depending on the initial concentration of the PCR product after the cleaning step. PCR products with concentration below/above 0.5 ng/μL are shown in red/blue, respectively.
Article
Full-text available
The high mortality of cephalopod early stages is the main bottleneck to grow them from paralarvae to adults in culture conditions, probably because the inadequacy of the diet that results in malnutrition. Since visual analysis of digestive tract contents of paralarvae provides little evidence of diet composition, the use of molecular tools, particu...
Article
Full-text available
The common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) is an attractive species for aquaculture, however, several challenges inhibit sustainable commercial production. Little is known about the early paralarval stages in the wild, including diet and intestinal microbiota, which likely play a significant role in development and vitality of this important life stage....
Article
Full-text available
Fish farms commonly support high abundances of invertebrates, especially amphipods, associated with fouling communities developed over nets, ropes and buoys. Protozoan epibiont ciliates of the genus Conidophrys were observed on three of the most abundant amphipod species collected from ropes of a fish farm in the western Mediterranean Sea. The amph...
Article
Full-text available
Cryptic species are common in the ocean, particularly among marine invertebrates such as octopuses. Delineating cryptic species is particularly problematic in octopus taxonomy where the plasticity recorded among taxonomic characters often results in low resolution at the species level. This study investigated the morphological relationships among s...
Article
Full-text available
En este trabajo caracterizamos la variación espacio-temporal de las comunidades de mesozooplancton (0.2 a 20 mm longitud) del sistema de afloramiento costero de Cabo Silleiro (41-42ºN). Las muestras de mesozooplancton se recolectaron enfrente de las costas de Galicia y Portugal a bordo del buque “Sarmiento de Gamboa” durante la campaña CAIBEX-I en...
Presentation
Full-text available
The spatio-temporal variability of the mesozooplankton communities was analysed in the seasonal upwelling system off Cape Silleiro (41-42ºN). Samples were collected with bongo nets at three depths (5, 100 and 500 m) during both day and night following lagrangian buoys. These drifted with upwelled waters under two contrasting oceanographic condition...
Presentation
Full-text available
Our knowledge of the diet of O. vulgaris in the wild is restricted to the first two weeks of their planktonic stage, when they are found close to the coast and possess three suckers-per-arm. This is because no octopus paralarvae have been collected previously with more than three suckers in the Atlantic Ocean. Remarkably, 42 out of 99 octopus paral...
Poster
Full-text available
This study investigates the mesozooplankton community structure over the shelf and continental slopes off the NW Iberian Peninsula (41-42ºN) in summer using multidimensional analysis. Five diversity indexes were estimated to identify the main drivers structuring these communities: Shannon–Weaver (H’), Simpson’s (λ), species richness (S), total abun...
Article
The fatty acid (FA) profile of wild Octopus vulgaris paralarvae of estimated age was individually analyzed for the very first time in order to establish a reference for comparison in rearing and nutritional studies. Age of each paralarvae was estimated by analysing daily increments on lateral hood surface of beaks. Wild paralarvae age ranged betwee...
Presentation
Full-text available
Global ecosystem models are essential tools to predict climate and anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems. These models include all pelagic components –abiotic and biotic- and their accuracy depends on our ability to model their complex relationships at different spatio-temporal scales. However, uncertainties or misconceptions coupling differen...
Article
Full-text available
Paraeuchaeta hebes is one of the most important carnivorous copepods in the coastal upwelling system off Galician waters (R�ıa de Vigo, NE Atlantic). A suctorian epibiont of the genus Pelagacineta was found attached to the surface of these copepods. The abundance and distribution on the copepod surface were analysed, taking into account the sex of...
Presentation
Full-text available
Squids represent an important economic resource in NW Spain (Galicia) and studies of squid paralarvae and their response to oceanographic and climatic variation are scarce in comparison with other invertebrate larvae and fishes in this region. Consequently, in this study we investigate the evolution of Loliginids paralarvae in Galician coastal wate...
Presentation
Full-text available
The planktonic stage of Octopus vulgaris is the least studied part of their life cycle and is the bottleneck in making their aquaculture viable. All octopus paralarvae captured to date over the continental shelf (<200 m depth) were early stages with only three suckers per arm. Captive studies have shown that octopuses settle with around 23 suckers...
Poster
Full-text available
The cephalopod paralarvae collected during the surveys CAIBEX-I (NW Iberian Peninsula, n=133) and CAIBEX-III (Morocco, n=244), were identified in collaboration with the Barcoding of Life Database (BOLD) within the project CEPAR: Cephalopod paralarvae of the Northeastern Atlantic. The project amassed COI data for 87.5% specimens (NW Iberian Peninsul...
Poster
The life cycle of Octopus vulgaris is closed in captivity but survival rates are extremely low precluding its commercialization. All research carried out thus far has centered in resolving the bottleneck of aquaculture: paralarval survival during the planktonic stage (~50-60 days). A plethora of experiments has been done to overcome this problem th...
Research
Full-text available
This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article at: https://theconversation.com/the-genetic-blueprint-of-an-octopus-reveals-much-about-this-amazing-creature-46088
Poster
Full-text available
Fish farms commonly support high abundances of invertebrates, especially amphipods, associated with fouling communities developed over nets, ropes and buoys. Two protozoan epibiont ciliates of the genus Conidophrys were observed on two of the most abundant amphipod species collected from ropes of a fish farm in the western Mediterranean Sea. Specim...