JELLYFISHERIES: Towards an integrated approach to enhance predictive accuracy of jellyfish impact on coastal marine ecosystems
Climate change and overfishing promote marine ecosystem instability, thereby fostering low-economic value species with rapid- turnover, such as jellyfish (i.e. cnidarian medusae and ctenophores). Ubiquitous in marine food webs, frequent proliferations of jellyfish are acknowledged as indicators of marine ecosystem change. Increased jellyfish outbursts concomitant with global anthropogenic changes are of current concern due to their harmful impact on fish stock and tourist industry.
JELLYFISHERIES aims to unveil the underlying mechanisms through which global anthropogenic changes interact with jellyfish populations in Portuguese coastal ecosystems, namely by: (1) providing an overview of the current state of jellyfish, both native and invasive species; (2) quantifying the effects of jellyfish blooms on the ecosystem; (3) assessing jellyfish blooms expansion; (4) evaluating consequences of jellyfish blooms for tourism, industry and fisheries, and (5) contributing and develop synergies with similar scientific programs dealing with ecosystem responses to Global Change.
Ultimately, this project will suit Portugal with a coastal alert system for the occurrence of marine threats (e.g. jellyfish blooms), evaluating marine productivity and predicting ecosystems responses, as well as the recruitment of commercially important fish stocks (e.g. sardine).
JELLYFISHERIES consists of a multidisciplinary team of researchers from different Portuguese institutions – IPLeiria, IPMA, CIIMAR and CCMAR, complemented with two international partners, from the Gothenburg University (Sweden) and the GEOMAR (Germany).