Monitoring Bloom Dynamics of a Common Coastal Bioluminescent Ctenophore
OCEAN RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION FORT PIERCE FL
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LONG-TERM GOALS. The long-term objective is to develop predictive models of bioluminescence potential in the coastal zone environment. OBJECTIVES. The ubiquitous nature of bioluminescent plankton in the world s ocean and its extreme sensitivity to mechanical excitation pose serious threats to clandestine operations. This is particularly true in the coastal zone where watershed run-off and discharge of submarine ground-water can profoundly impact growth conditions on very short space and time scales. Bioluminescent blooms include dinoflagellate red tides, which are occurring more frequently, lasting longer and extending further off shore due to excessive nutrient loading from land-based run-off and blooms of the carnivorous ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi that may be either seasonal or event driven, can develop on remarkably short time scales Kremer, 1994 and also appear to be on the increase Sullivan et al., 2001. Mnemiopsis leidyi, a native-American comb jelly Figure 1, was first introduced into the Black Sea in 1982, where it caused the total collapse of the local fisheries. It has recently broken out into the Mediterranean Sea. Also, there is evidence that blooms within its native range along the east coast of the United States are increasing and producing profound impacts on coastal ecosystems. Given its ubiquity and its exceptional hardiness there is concern that it may continue to spread. The causes of jellyfish blooms are not well understood, but are generally assumed to be a combination of physical and biological factors, with temperature and salinity being the primary determinants of distribution and food availability, and predation being critical controlling factors of abundance Graham et al., 2001, Kremer, 1994.
- Biological Oceanography