Increased occurrence of the jellyfish Periphylla periphylla in the European high Arctic

Maxime Geoffroy, Jørgen Berge, Sanna Majaneva, Geir Johnsen, Tom J. Langbehn, Finlo Cottier, Aksel Alstad Mogstad, Artur Zolich, Kim Last

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Abstract

The jellyfish Periphylla periphylla, which can have strong ecological impacts on its environment, is ubiquitous in the Norwegian Sea and its range was predicted to extend northwards. The occurrence of P. periphylla in the northern Barents Sea increased since 2014 and, for the first time, several individuals were collected within a high Arctic fjord (> 78°N) in western Spitsbergen in January 2017. The low solar irradiance prevailing during the polar night and an increased inflow of relatively warm Atlantic water in the European Arctic since the last decade likely provide suitable conditions for the medusa to colonize Svalbard’s fjords during the winter months. However, light avoidance constrains the photophobic P. periphylla to deeper offshore areas during the midnight sun period. The current occurrence of P. periphylla in high Arctic fjords during the polar night will have a limited impact on marine ecosystems in the short term, but long-term effects are more uncertain if its abundance continues to increase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2615-2619
Number of pages5
JournalPolar Biology
Volume41
Issue number12
Early online date25 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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Keywords

  • Helmet jellyfish
  • Polar night
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Barents Sea
  • Svalbard
  • Borealization

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