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Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 1021–1033 | Cite as

Abundance, distribution and prey composition of scyphomedusae in the southern North Sea

  • Kristina Barz
  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
Research Article

Abstract

The annual cycle of abundance and distribution of the scyphozoan medusae Aurelia aurita, Cyanea lamarckii, C. capillata and Chrysaora hysoscella were studied in the southern North Sea in 2004 and 2005. Three different patterns of seasonal occurrence of medusae were distinguished: (1) the early occurring C. lamarckii (February–August), (2) C. capillata and A. aurita (April–August) and (3) the late appearing C. hysoscella (July/August–September). Cyanea lamarckii was the most frequently encountered species in this study; its highest mean abundance was 1.8 ± 2.7 ind. 100 m−3. The prey spectra of C. lamarckii, C. capillata and C. hysoscella contained several copepod and other crustacean species and thus make them potential competitors with fish larvae. Medusae in this study also consumed fish eggs and larvae, including clupeids, in all months analysed. Although peak spawning of sprat (Sprattus sprattus) coincides with the maximum abundance of medusae (May–June) the relative low abundance of all medusae species in this study makes jellyfish predation unlikely to be a factor controlling sprat recruitment in the time frame investigated.

Keywords

North Atlantic Oscillation Index German Bight Station Grid Elbe Estuary Dutch Coast 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study would not have been possible without the support of many colleagues and students in collecting and analysing medusae. We thank the crews of RV Alkor, Heincke and A. v. Humboldt. Many thanks also to Ulrike Holtz and Adrian Basilico for their help in examination of medusae and to Dr. Myron Peck for helpful editorial comments. Dr. Rainer Knust and Inken Suck provided the Mapit programme. This research was funded by GLOBEC Germany, BMBF 03F0320D.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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