Experimental mining plumes and ocean warming trigger stress in a deep pelagic jellyfish

Vanessa I. Stenvers, Helena Hauss, Till Bayer, Charlotte Havermans, Ute Hentschel, Lara Schmittmann, Andrew K. Sweetman, Henk Jan T. Hoving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


The deep pelagic ocean is increasingly subjected to human-induced environmental change. While pelagic animals provide important ecosystem functions including climate regulation, species-specific responses to stressors remain poorly documented. Here, we investigate the effects of simulated ocean warming and sediment plumes on the cosmopolitan deep-sea jellyfish Periphylla periphylla, combining insights gained from physiology, gene expression and changes in associated microbiota. Metabolic demand was elevated following a 4 °C rise in temperature, promoting genes related to innate immunity but suppressing aerobic respiration. Suspended sediment plumes provoked the most acute and energetically costly response through the production of excess mucus (at ≥17 mg L−1), while inducing genes related to aerobic respiration and wound repair (at ≥167 mg L−1). Microbial symbionts appeared to be unaffected by both stressors, with mucus production maintaining microbial community composition. If these responses are representative for other gelatinous fauna, an abundant component of pelagic ecosystems, the effects of planned exploitation of seafloor resources may impair deep pelagic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7352
Number of pages14
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2023


  • climate-change ecology
  • Environmental impact
  • Marine biology
  • Symbiosis
  • Transcriptomics


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