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Title: Biogeography and phenology of the jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) in southern European seas
Authors: Leoni, Valentina; Bonnet, Delphine; Ramirez-Romero, Eduardo and Molinero, Juan Carlos
Citation: GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY, 2021, 30, 622-639
Abstract: Aim: Global anthropogenic changes have altered biogeography and phenology of marine populations, thereby promoting a spatial reconfiguration in the functioning of marine ecosystems. Among these changes, massive proliferations of jellyfish in temperate latitudes warn of potential alterations in biogeochemical fluxes, ecosystems' structure and assets, and the services they provide to human welfare. Understanding driving factors shaping large-scale patterns of jellyfish proliferations is a pressing need in global ecology and sustainability science. Using a comprehensive dataset of the largest blooming scyphomedusae in southern European seas we test, over broad space-time scales, current hypotheses relating jellyfish dynamics to warming and eutrophication. Location: Southern European seas. Time period: 1875-2019. Major taxa studied: Rhizostoma pulmo. Methods: We have gathered historical and contemporaneous records of R. pulmo from the Mediterranean and Black Seas over the last two centuries (7,359 records). Generalized statistical models were used to assess the influence of thermal (latitudinal) and productivity (longitudinal) gradients on the biogeographical patterns, and the species' phenology at large and regional scales. Results: Rhizostoma pulmo abundance exhibited an enhanced magnitude and frequency in recent decades, concurrently with positive temperature anomalies. We found that the latitudinal temperature gradient, but not productivity, shaped long-term bloom intensity and biogeographical patterns of the species. Our analysis further uncovered a significant effect of the interannual variability of spring temperature on the species' phenology over the period 2008-2018, with warmer springs favouring an earlier start (c. 3 months) and a longer duration (from 5 to 7 months) of jellyfish season. Main conclusions: Among the current hypotheses linking jellyfish changes with anthropogenic disturbances, only the warming-based hypothesis gained support over wide space-time scales, while the eutrophication-based hypothesis mainly applied at local scales. Hence, biogeographical patterns of R. pulmo are shaped by the latitudinal temperature gradient, while the species bloom dynamics echo variations in ecoregion thermal regimes.
Keywords: Black Sea; cnidarian biogeography; gelatinous carnivore proliferations; global anthropogenic changes; Mediterranean Sea; warming
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: WILEY
Type: Article
DOI: 10.1111/geb.13241
ISSN: 1466-822X
E-ISSN: 1466-8238
Funder: Agencia Nacional de Investigacion e Innovacion (ANII, Uruguay)
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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