Editor: Sean Connolly
Gelatinous zooplankton biomass in the global oceans: geographic variation and environmental drivers
Version of Record online: 22 APR 2014
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Volume 23, Issue 7, pages 701–714, July 2014
How to Cite
Lucas, C. H., Jones, D. O. B., Hollyhead, C. J., Condon, R. H., Duarte, C. M., Graham, W. M., Robinson, K. L., Pitt, K. A., Schildhauer, M. and Regetz, J. (2014), Gelatinous zooplankton biomass in the global oceans: geographic variation and environmental drivers. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23: 701–714. doi: 10.1111/geb.12169
- Issue online: 5 JUN 2014
- Version of Record online: 22 APR 2014
- National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)
- National Science Foundation (NSF). Grant Number: DEB-94-21535
- University of California at Santa Barbara
- State of California
- NSF. Grant Number: NSF-OCE 1030149
- University of Southampton
- NERC Marine Environmental Mapping Programme (MAREMAP)
- environmental drivers;
- geographic trends;
- global ocean;
- jellyfish blooms;
Scientific debate regarding the future trends, and subsequent ecological, biogeochemical and societal impacts, of gelatinous zooplankton (GZ) in a changing ocean is hampered by lack of a global baseline and an understanding of the causes of biogeographic patterns. We address this by using a new global database of GZ records to test hypotheses relating to environmental drivers of biogeographic variation in the multidecadal baseline of epipelagic GZ biomass in the world's oceans.
Over 476,000 global GZ data and metadata items were assembled from a variety of published and unpublished sources. From this, a total of 91,765 quantitative abundance data items from 1934 to 2011 were converted to carbon biomass using published biometric equations and species-specific average sizes. Total GZ, Cnidaria, Ctenophora and Chordata (Thaliacea) biomass was mapped into 5° grid cells and environmental drivers of geographic variation were tested using spatial linear models.
We present JeDI (the Jellyfish Database Initiative), a publically accessible database available at http://jedi.nceas.ucsb.edu. We show that: (1) GZ are present throughout the world's oceans; (2) the global geometric mean and standard deviation of total gelatinous biomass is 0.53 ± 16.16 mg C m−3, corresponding to a global biomass of 38.3 Tg C in the mixed layer of the ocean; (3) biomass of all gelatinous phyla is greatest in the subtropical and boreal Northern Hemisphere; and (4) within the North Atlantic, dissolved oxygen, apparent oxygen utilization and sea surface temperature are the principal drivers of biomass distribution.
JeDI is a unique global dataset of GZ taxa which will provide a benchmark against which future observations can be compared and shifting baselines assessed. The presence of GZ throughout the world's oceans and across the complete global spectrum of environmental variables indicates that evolution has delivered a range of species able to adapt to all available ecological niches.