Abstract Project: KOP183

Arctic gelatinous zooplankton in the polar night

Charlotte Havermans (AWI)

Recently, increases in gelatinous zooplankton (ctenophore and cnidarian) biomass, referred to as “jellification”, impacted marine ecosystems and fish stocks worldwide. As jellies have been commonly neglected in pelagic surveys in the Arctic, accurate data on diversity, distribution, abundances and trophic role are missing, which strongly impedes our ability to detect changes of a similar magnitude. We aim to establish a reliable baseline combining optical and net surveys as well as environmental DNA, against which we can evaluate community changes and newly arriving species due to the ongoing “Atlantification”. Through a comprehensive set of trophic analyses, we will clarify the role of overwintering jellies as prey and predators in the Arctic food web. Finally, we will explore anti-predatory adaptations such a bioluminescence to give a more complete picture of interactions between jellies and visual predators.

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