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Spatial and temporal patterns of occurrence of three alien hydromedusae, Blackfordia virginica (Mayer, 1910), Nemopsis bachei (Agassiz, 1849) and Maeotias marginata (Modeer, 1791), in the Gironde Estuary (France)

  • Nowaczyk, A.
  • David, V.
  • Lepage, M.
  • Goarant, A.
  • De Oliveira, E.
  • Sautour, B.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
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The species composition and seasonal abundance patterns of gelatinous zooplankton are poorly known for many European coastal-zone waters. The seasonal abundance and distribution of the dominant species of hydromedusae along a salinity gradient within the Gironde Estuary, Atlantic coast of France, were evaluated based on monthly surveys, June 2013 to April 2014. The results confirmed the presence of three species considered to be introduced in many coastal ecosystems around the world: Nemopsis bachei (Agassiz, 1849), Blackfordia virginica (Mayer, 1910), and Maeotias marginata (Modeer, 1791). These species were found at salinities ranging from 0 to 22.9 and temperatures ranging from 14.5 to 26.6 ºC, demonstrating their tolerance to a wide range of estuarine environmental conditions. There was a clear succession of the three species that was influenced by temperature and salinity. Blackfordia virginica was the dominant hydromedusae during the warmest months and occurred at very high abundance (up to 634 individuals.m-3 corresponding to 21.40 g.m-3 as wet weight). The seasonal evolution of the size distribution indicated an extended period of release of medusae by hydroid polyps, and rapid growth, covering the whole period of occurrence for B. virginica. Nemopsis bachei also was present during the warmer months but only locally common. In contrast, Maeotias marginata only occurred in low numbers during autumn and had not been previously detected in the Gironde Estuary. Non-native jellyfishes clearly represent a prominent component of the Gironde Estuary, and additional work is needed to understand the potential impacts on the structure and functioning of entire zooplankton community.

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