Spatio-temporal overlap of the alien invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi and ichthyoplankton in the Bornholm Basin (Baltic Sea)

Schaber, Matthias, Haslob, Holger, Huwer, Bastian, Harjes, Anne, Hinrichsen, Hans-Harald, Storr-Paulsen, Marie, Schmidt, Jörn O., Voss, Rüdiger, Neumann, Viola and Köster, Friedrich W. (2011) Spatio-temporal overlap of the alien invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi and ichthyoplankton in the Bornholm Basin (Baltic Sea) Biological Invasions, 13 (12). pp. 2647-2660. DOI 10.1007/s10530-011-9936-7.

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In 2007 the alien invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi A. Agassiz 1865 was recorded for the first time in the Bornholm Basin, an area which serves as important spawning ground for Baltic fish stocks. Since M. leidyi is capable of preying upon early life stages of fish and further might act as food competitor for fish larvae, it is of major concern to investigate the potential threat that this non-indigenous species poses to the pelagic ecosystem of the Baltic Sea. The present study investigates the temporal and spatial overlap of M. leidyi with eggs and larvae of Baltic cod (Gadus morhua L.) and sprat (Sprattus sprattus L.) in order to assess the potential impact of this new invader on two of the most important Baltic fish stocks. Results show variable inter-seasonal distribution and overlap dynamics and thus different seasonal threat-scenarios for the early life stages of cod and sprat. The spatial overlap between M. leidyi and ichthyoplankton was low for most of the period observed, and we conclude that M. leidyi presently does not have a strong impact. However, we detected situations with high overlaps, e.g. for sprat larvae and cod eggs in spring. As the population dynamics of M. leidyi in the central Baltic are not yet fully understood, a future population explosion of the alien ctenophore with possible effects on fish recruitment cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, a possible shift in peak spawning of cod to the early season, when ctenophore abundances were relatively high, might increase the impact of M. leidyi on cod.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes; Ichthyology; Alien invasive ctenophore – Non-indigenous species – Predator–prey overlap – Gadus morhua – Sprattus sprattus; ALKOR; AL297; AL299; AL303; AL318; AL320; AL324; R.V. DANA
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s10530-011-9936-7
ISSN: 1387-3547
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2011 15:01
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2016 11:41

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