Mapping habitats for the suitability of jellyfish blooms around the UK and Ireland

A. Kennerley*, I. Lorenzoni, T. Luisetti, L. E. Wood, N. G.H. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    There is increasing focus on the frequency of jellyfish blooms in the Northeast Atlantic because of negative interactions with humans. However, uncertainty exists as to whether perceptions of increasing bloom frequencies reflect reality due to limitations within long-term population trend data. This study, therefore, developed and applied a semi-quantitative mapping approach to visualise bloom suitability based on the physiological tolerances of seven jellyfish to ocean temperature, salinity and a prey index across the Northeast Atlantic. A 10% increase and a 10% decrease in the environmental parameters was then applied to the maps to assess model sensitivity and the potential influence of environmental change on bloom suitability. The study found that optimal physiological temperatures and salinities combined with peaks in prey abundance drove higher bloom suitability and determined distribution. Several locations predicted to be at high risk of bloom occurrence off British and Irish coasts were found to coincide with areas of high anthropogenic activity that could be impacted by blooms. In the absence of long-term datasets on jellyfish population dynamics, the results and methods developed in this study allow an understanding of historic bloom events and predictions of future populations that will be useful in informing monitoring and management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1535-1552
    Number of pages18
    JournalHydrobiologia
    Volume848
    Issue number7
    Early online date24 Feb 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

    Keywords

    • Environmental change
    • GIS
    • Habitat suitability mapping
    • Jellyfish blooms
    • Northeast Atlantic
    • UK and Ireland

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