Potential pathways of invasion and dispersal of Mnemiopsis leidyi A. Agassiz 1865 in the Baltic Sea
The rapid spread of Mnemiopsis leidyi across the entire Baltic Sea after its first observation in 2006 gave rise to the question of its invasion pathway and the possible vector of its transport. To investigate pathways of M. leidyi invasion, the years 2005–2008 have been simulated by a three-dimensional coupled sea ice-ocean model of the Baltic Sea. In addition, a Lagrangian particle-tracking model has been utilized to test possible transport routes of this invader for 2006/2007. Based on the model, we exclude advection from the Kattegat as the main area of origin of M. leidyi and further spreading through the entire Baltic Sea. To explain the dispersion of M. leidyi in 2007 an earlier invasion already in 2005 is most probable. Alternatively, an invasion originating from main harbors with high ship traffic could also be a potential pathway. Drift simulations with drifter release in the main harbors are in good agreement with the observed distribution pattern of M. leidyi.
KeywordsInvasive species Range expansion Mnemiopsis leidyi Lagrangian particle-tracking model Baltic Sea
Authors are grateful to J. C. Molinero for his valuable comments on the article. This work was financed by IFM-GEOMAR.
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