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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 3 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 11, 405-424, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-11-405-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 04 Jun 2015

Research article | 04 Jun 2015

Modelling survival and connectivity of Mnemiopsis leidyi in the south-western North Sea and Scheldt estuaries

J. van der Molen1, J. van Beek2, S. Augustine6, L. Vansteenbrugge4,5, L. van Walraven3, V. Langenberg2, H. W. van der Veer3, K. Hostens4, S. Pitois1, and J. Robbens4 J. van der Molen et al.
  • 1The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Lowestoft, UK
  • 2Deltares, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 3Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Den Burg (Texel), the Netherlands
  • 4Instituut voor Landbouw – en Visserij Onderzoek (ILVO), Oostende, Belgium
  • 5Biology Department, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University (UGhent), Ghent, Belgium
  • 6Center for Ocean Life, Charlottenlund, Denmark

Abstract. Three different models were applied to study the reproduction, survival and dispersal of Mnemiopsis leidyi in the Scheldt estuaries and the southern North Sea: a high-resolution particle tracking model with passive particles, a low-resolution particle tracking model with a reproduction model coupled to a biogeochemical model, and a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model. The results of the models, each with its strengths and weaknesses, suggest the following conceptual situation: (i) the estuaries possess enough retention capability to keep an overwintering population, and enough exchange with coastal waters of the North Sea to seed offshore populations; (ii) M. leidyi can survive in the North Sea, and be transported over considerable distances, thus facilitating connectivity between coastal embayments; (iii) under current climatic conditions, M. leidyi may not be able to reproduce in large numbers in coastal and offshore waters of the North Sea, but this may change with global warming; however, this result is subject to substantial uncertainty. Further quantitative observational work is needed on the effects of temperature, salinity and food availability on reproduction and on mortality at different life stages to improve models such as used here.

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The reproduction, survival, and transport of the comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi was studied with three models in the Scheldt estuaries and the southern North Sea. The results suggest that (a) the estuaries can retain an overwintering population and seed offshore populations; (b) M. leidyi can survive in the North Sea, and be transported between coastal inlets; and (c) M. leidyi cannot reproduce well in the North Sea, but this might change with global warming. The models need further improvement.
The reproduction, survival, and transport of the comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi was studied with...
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