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Population ecology of Muggiaea atlantica (Cnidaria, Siphonophora) in the Western English Channel

Population ecology of Muggiaea atlantica (Cnidaria, Siphonophora) in the Western English Channel
Population ecology of Muggiaea atlantica (Cnidaria, Siphonophora) in the Western English Channel
Recent observations suggest that the siphonophore Muggiaea atlantica is expanding its geographical distribution. The mechanisms behind this expansion remain unclear due to our limited knowledge of the species’ ecology. We modelled the functional relationship between the 2 main life-cycle stages of M. atlantica over a 5 yr period (2009?2013) in the Western English Channel. Our aims were to determine the key features of the species’ population dynamics and the influence of local environmental conditions on its population development. Our results highlighted a strong coupling between the timing of specific environmental conditions and the development of the M. atlantica population, thereby explaining interannual differences in the phenology of its blooms. Population development commenced with the initiation of eudoxid production by the overwintering polygastric stages. This reproductive event was linked to the onset of a spring temperature threshold, suggesting a critical basal limit of 10°C for eudoxid production. Interannual variability in the timing of this threshold modulated the degree of mismatch between the developing M. atlantica population and the availability of copepod prey. Unusually cold conditions in the spring of 2010 and 2013 limited the capacity for M. atlantica to initiate eudoxid production leading to poor trophic phasing and the production of single autumn cohorts. In contrast, warmer conditions during spring 2009, 2011, and 2012 facilitated earlier population development, optimal trophic phasing and the production of both summer and autumn cohorts. These findings represent an important addition to our understanding of the ecology of M. atlantica in the Northeast Atlantic
129-144
Blackett, Michael
5509d5a0-ad61-45cc-92e4-284831f6bb9c
Lucas, C.H.
521743e3-b250-4c6b-b084-780af697d6bf
Harmer, R.A.
95fbbe0b-6718-459e-a786-bcc1b339956b
Licandro, P.
cfafb921-9ed9-4a0a-847b-39d7fc8e12b1
Blackett, Michael
5509d5a0-ad61-45cc-92e4-284831f6bb9c
Lucas, C.H.
521743e3-b250-4c6b-b084-780af697d6bf
Harmer, R.A.
95fbbe0b-6718-459e-a786-bcc1b339956b
Licandro, P.
cfafb921-9ed9-4a0a-847b-39d7fc8e12b1

Blackett, Michael, Lucas, C.H., Harmer, R.A. and Licandro, P. (2015) Population ecology of Muggiaea atlantica (Cnidaria, Siphonophora) in the Western English Channel. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 535, 129-144. (doi:10.3354/meps11423).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Recent observations suggest that the siphonophore Muggiaea atlantica is expanding its geographical distribution. The mechanisms behind this expansion remain unclear due to our limited knowledge of the species’ ecology. We modelled the functional relationship between the 2 main life-cycle stages of M. atlantica over a 5 yr period (2009?2013) in the Western English Channel. Our aims were to determine the key features of the species’ population dynamics and the influence of local environmental conditions on its population development. Our results highlighted a strong coupling between the timing of specific environmental conditions and the development of the M. atlantica population, thereby explaining interannual differences in the phenology of its blooms. Population development commenced with the initiation of eudoxid production by the overwintering polygastric stages. This reproductive event was linked to the onset of a spring temperature threshold, suggesting a critical basal limit of 10°C for eudoxid production. Interannual variability in the timing of this threshold modulated the degree of mismatch between the developing M. atlantica population and the availability of copepod prey. Unusually cold conditions in the spring of 2010 and 2013 limited the capacity for M. atlantica to initiate eudoxid production leading to poor trophic phasing and the production of single autumn cohorts. In contrast, warmer conditions during spring 2009, 2011, and 2012 facilitated earlier population development, optimal trophic phasing and the production of both summer and autumn cohorts. These findings represent an important addition to our understanding of the ecology of M. atlantica in the Northeast Atlantic

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Published date: September 2015
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 379224
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/379224
PURE UUID: 9ee9a6d6-d8b2-4c8f-997d-0424b9371a38
ORCID for C.H. Lucas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5929-7481

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Date deposited: 15 Jul 2015 15:37
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:20

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Contributors

Author: Michael Blackett
Author: C.H. Lucas ORCID iD
Author: R.A. Harmer
Author: P. Licandro

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