The broad-scale distribution and abundance of Scyphomedusae in Irish waters

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Bastian, Thomas Jean Daniel
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University College Cork
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Scyphomedusae are receiving increasing recognition as key components of marine ecosystems. However, information on their distribution and abundance beyond coastal waters is generally lacking. Organising access to such data is critical to effectively transpose findings from laboratory, mesocosm and small scale studies to the scale of ecological processes. These data are also required to identify the risks of detrimental impacts of jellyfish blooms on human activities. In Ireland, such risks raise concerns among the public, but foremost amongst the professionals of the aquaculture and fishing sectors. The present work looked at the opportunity to get access to new information on the distribution of jellyfish around Ireland mostly by using existing infrastructures and programmes. The analysis of bycatch data collected during the Irish groundfish surveys provided new insights into the distribution of Pelagia noctiluca over an area >160 000 km2, a scale never reached before in a region of the Northeast Atlantic (140 sampling stations). Similarly, 4 years of data collected during the Irish Sea juvenile gadoid fish survey provided the first spatially, explicit, information on the abundance of Aurelia aurita and Cyanea spp. (Cyanea capillata and Cyanea lamarckii) throughout the Irish Sea (> 200 sampling events). In addition, the use of ships of opportunity allowed repeated samplings (N = 37) of an >100 km long transect between Dublin (Ireland) and Holyhead (Wales, UK), therefore providing two years of seasonal monitoring of the occurrence of scyphomedusae in that region. Finally, in order to inform the movements of C. capillata in an area where many negative interactions with bathers occur, the horizontal and vertical movements of 5 individual C. capillata were investigated through acoustic tracking.
Scyphozoan jellyfish distribution , Analysis of fish surveys bycatch , Seasonal and interannual monitoring , Acoustic tracking , Spatial and temporal dynamics of marine foodwebs
BASTIAN, T. 2011. The Broad-Scale Distribution and Abundance of Scyphomedusae in Irish Waters. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.