Baltic zooplankton cascades (BAZOOCA) (38584)

Project Details


The alien ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, notorious for wrecking havoc in the Black Sea, was recently introduced to the Baltic, where it thrives. As an enclosed brackish water system where many organisms live close to their tolerance thresholds, the Baltic is very sensitive to such disturbances. We aim to test the overall hypothesis that Mnemiopsis in the Baltic causes cascading effects throughout the pelagic food web, from gelatinous and top predators to microbes. 
Using field studies, experiments and modeling we will address a specific set of research aims (organized as work packages). We will consider these research aims within the natural spatial (Baltic proper, Bothnian Sea, Bothnian Bay) and environmental (oxygen, temperature, salinity, light, N, P) gradients in the Baltic. Understanding such food web effects and potential cascades is crucial given the overall stress from contemporary environmental challenges, e.g. eutrophication, increased maritime activities, and climate change. 
The results will be useful for both scientists and policy makers. The current regime shift towards more jellyfish is unprecedented in the Baltic. Its effects on this specific ecosystem cannot be forecast solely on the basis of lessons from other ecosystems.

The project is coordinated by University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Research area: Oceanography
Effective start/end date01/01/200914/07/2012


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