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Research project

The influence of scyphozoan polyps on the distribution and abundance of bloom-forming jellyfish - Nat Geo GEF

Lead researcher:
Research funder:
National Geographic Society
Status:
Not active

Project overview

Considerable differences in abundance and seasonality between closely-located jellyfish populations have been discovered, as well as large differences in abundance from year to year. To start to understand the potential role that bottom-dwelling polyps have in forming and maintaining jellyfish populations, including how they affect the distribution of different species and cause between-population variation in jellyfish abundance, the project aimed to:
1) Describe the natural cycle of growth and reproduction of polyps of Aurelia aurita, Cyanea capillata and Cyanea lamarckii. Identify how the biotic and abiotic factors influence observed patterns of distribution, abundance and reproductive ecology of polyps, and use these to inform future hypotheses-testing experiments.
2) Describe how population dynamics changes within the geographic range of species and how this affects jellyfish abundance and distribution, using C. capillata and C. lamarckii in the Irish Sea.
3) Describe between-population variation in the formation and maintenance of jellyfish populations, using A. aurita populations in the Solent as a case study.

Staff

Lead researcher

Doctor Cathy Lucas

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • The role of gelatinous zooplankton in ecosystem structure and function.
  • Causes and consequences of jellyfish blooms.

Connect with Cathy

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