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Spreading and physico-biological reproduction limitations of the invasive American comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi in the Baltic Sea

Lehtiniemi, Maiju, Lehmann, Andreas, Javidpour, Jamileh, Myrberg, Kai
Biological invasions 2012 v.14 no.2 pp. 341-354
basins, environmental factors, flow, invasive species, models, mortality, overland flow, population distribution, reproduction, salinity, surface layers, temperature, topography, velocity, water currents, wind, Baltic Sea, Denmark
Hydrodynamic drift modeling was used to investigate the potential dispersion of Mnemiopsis leidyi from the Bornholm Basin in the Baltic Sea where it has been observed since 2007 further to the east and north. In the brackish surface layer dispersion is mainly driven by wind, while within the halocline dispersion is mainly controlled by the baroclinic flow field and bottom topography. Model runs showed that the natural spreading via deep water currents from the Bornholm Basin towards north and east is limited by topographic features and low advection velocities. Based on the information on ranges of salinity and temperature, which limit survival and reproduction of this ctenophore within the Baltic Sea, areas have been identified where the American comb jelly, M. leidyi could potentially survive and reproduce. While, we could show that M. leidyi might survive in vast areas of the northern Baltic Sea its reproduction is prevented by low salinity (<10 psu) and temperature (<12°C). Thus, due to the combined effect of low salinity and temperature, it is not probable that M. leidyi could establish permanent populations in the central or northern Baltic Sea. However, it seems that in the southern parts of the Baltic Sea environmental conditions are suitable for a successful reproduction of M. leidyi.