Are jellyfish increasing in response to ocean acidification?

Ocean acidification may negatively affect calcifying plankton, opening ecological space for noncalcifying species. Recently, a study of climate-forcing of jellyfish reported the first analysis suggesting that there were more jellyfish (generally considered a noncalcifying group) when conditions were more acidic (lower pH) from one area within the North Sea. We examine this suggestion for a number of areas in the North Sea and beyond in the Northeast Atlantic using coelenterate records from the Continuous Plankton Recorder and pH data from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea for the period 1946–2003. We could find no significant relationships between jellyfish abundance and acidic conditions in any of the regions investigated. We conclude that the role of pH in structuring zooplankton communities in the North Sea and further afield at present is tenuous.



Richardson A. J., & Gibbons M. J, 2008. Are jellyfish increasing in response to ocean acidification? Limnology and Oceanography 53(5): 2040–2045. Article. (Subscription required).

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