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North Sea Scyphomedusae; summer distribution, estimated biomass and significance particularly for O-group gadoid fish
Hay, S.J.; Hislop, J.R.G.; Shanks, A.M. (1990). North Sea Scyphomedusae; summer distribution, estimated biomass and significance particularly for O-group gadoid fish. Neth. J. Sea Res. 25(1-2): 113-130
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hay, S.J.
  • Hislop, J.R.G.
  • Shanks, A.M.

    Data on the by-catch of Scyphomedusae from pelagic trawls was collected during the routine ICES International 0-group Gadoid Surveys of the North Sea, in June and July of the years 1971-1986 (except 1984). These data are used to describe the distributions, abundances and biomasses of three common North Sea Scyphomedusae: Aurelia aurita (L.), Cyanea capillata (L.) and C. lamarckii (Péron & Lesuer). Information is also presented on inter-annual variability, size (umbrella diameter) frequencies and, for the Cyanea species, umbrella diameter: wet weight relationships. The general role and ecological significance of Scyphomedusae is discussed and, given the well known 'shelter' relationships between Scyphomedusae and certain 0-group fish, whiting (Merlangius merlangus) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), in particular. The data were examined for evidence of such relationships. Aurelia aurita, although fairly widespread in the northern North Sea was virtually absent from the central North Sea but very abundant in coastal waters. This species was particularly abundant off the Scottish east coast and especially in the Moray Firth. Cyanea lamarckii was most abundant in the southern and eastern North Sea. More widespread than Aurelia, this species was also most abundant in coastal regions, particularly off the Danish west coast. Cyanea capillata, with a more northern distribution was also more widely distributed and abundant offshore. This species was most abundant in the area between the Orkney/Shetland Isles and the Norwegian Deep and in shelf waters of the north west approaches to the North Sea. As with C. lamarckii it was also, in some years, abundant off the Scottish east coast and west of Denmark. The abundance and the size frequencey of the jellyfish show considerable inter-annual variability, and variability between regions of the North Sea. It is considered that hydrographic variability and differences in food supply to both medusae and to their sessile benthic polyps, are the major causes of the observed differences between years and areas. The impact of Scyphomedusae on fishing and recreational activities is discussed.

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