This data article includes a qualitative and quantitative description of the gelatinous macrozooplankton community of the North Sea during January-February 2021. Sampling was conducted during the 1st quarter International Bottom Trawl Survey (IBTS) on board the Danish R/V DANA (DTU Aqua Denmark) and the Swedish R/V Svea (SLU Sweden), as part of the ichthyoplankton investigation during night-time. A total of 147 stations were investigated in the western, central and eastern North Sea as well as the Skagerrak and Kattegat. Sampling was conducted with a 13 m long Midwater Ring Net (MIK net, Ø 2 m, mesh size 1.6 mm, cod end with smaller mesh size of 500 µm), equipped with a flow meter. The MIK net was deployed in double oblique hauls from the surface to c. 5 m above the sea floor [1,2]. Samples were visually analysed unpreserved on a light table and/or with a stereomicroscope or magnifying lamp within 2 hours after catch. A total of 13,510 individuals were counted/sized. Twelve gelatinous macrozooplankton species or genera were encountered, namely the hydrozoan Aequorea vitrina, Aglantha digitale, Clytia spp., Leuckartiara octona, Tima bairdii, Muggiaea atlantica; the scyphozoans Cyanea capillata and Cyanea lamarckii and the ctenophores Beroe spp., Bolinopsis infundibulum, Mnemiopsis leidyi, Pleurobrachia pileus. Abundance data are presented on a volume specific (m−3) and area specific (m−2) basis. Size data have been used to estimate wet weights based on published length-weight regressions (see Table 1). For the groups i) hydrozoan jellyfish, ii) scyphozoan jellyfish, iii) ctenophores, as well as iv) grouped gelatinous macrozooplankton, spatial weight specific distribution patterns are presented. This unpublished dataset contributes baseline information about the gelatinous macrozooplankton diversity and its specific distribution patterns in the extended North Sea area during winter (January-February) 2021. These data can be an important contribution to address global change impacts on marine systems, especially considering gelatinous macrozooplankton abundance changes in relation to anthropogenic stressors.
- Comb jelly
- Gelatinous zooplankton