Effects of climate warming on strobilation and ephyra production of North Sea scyphozoan jellyfish

  • Sabine HolstEmail author
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 220)


Recent studies have correlated fluctuations in jellyfish abundances with climatic changes, leading to speculation that the warming trend in the North Sea will affect the strobilation activity of Scyphozoa. The present study provides long-term data (10–22 months) on temperature effects on the species Aurelia aurita, Cyanea capillata, Cyanea lamarckii and Chrysaora hysoscella. Strobilation at current winter temperature (5°C) in the German Bight was compared to strobilation at warmer winter temperatures. Simulated winter temperature of 10°C had several positive effects on strobilation, as compared to 5°C: 1. A longer strobilation period or higher ephyra production per polyp in A. aurita, C. lamarckii and Ch. hysoscella; 2. Higher percentages of polyps strobilating in A. aurita and Ch. hysoscella; 3. More ephyrae per strobila in C. capillata and C. lamarckii; 4. A shorter strobilation duration in C. capillata and C. lamarckii. Cold winter temperatures of 5°C promoted strobilation in C. capillata, but inhibited strobilation in A. aurita and reduced ephyra production in C. lamarckii and Ch. hysoscella. These results suggest that climate warming will benefit A. aurita, but not cold-water C. capillata. The distributions of C. lamarckii and Ch. hysoscella probably could expand to the north.


Aurelia Cyanea Chrysaora Polyp Temperature Reproduction 


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I thank PD Dr. Gerhard Jarms for his support, for imparting his knowledge on polyp culturing and for providing the research facilities. I am grateful to the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (Alfred Wegener Institute) for providing the guest laboratory and I am thankful for the assistance of students and technicians of the Biocenter Grindel. I thank Drs. Ilka Sötje, Jennifer Purcell, and the reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript, and Dr. Caroline Stolter for her help in the statistics. This study is part of a Ph. D. thesis conducted at the Biocenter Grindel and Zoological Museum in Hamburg supported by EUROGEL (EUROpean GELatinous Zooplankton, European Commission Contract no. EVK-CT-2002-00074).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Senckenberg am MeerGerman Center for Marine Biodiversity Research, c/o Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches MuseumHamburgGermany

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