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MESA Archives: Eastern Bering Sea Jellyfish

(PLEASE NOTE: These web pages are for archival purposes only and are no longer maintained. For current information on this topic at the AFSC visit the Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment program. )

ABL Home
Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment
Ocean Carrying Capacity
Bering Sea (BASIS)
Physical Oceanography
Nutrient and Phytoplankton Research
Zooplankton Research
Jellyfish Ecology
Program Activities:
Data Sets
Reports & Activities
Scientist measuring a jellyfish
Scientist measures a large jellyfish.
Jellyfish cover the trawl deck
Jellyfish cover the trawl deck.

Gelatinous zooplankton (i.e., jellyfish) have recently emerged as a topic of research interest. In recent years, jellyfish have been found to modify local fisheries (i.e., Caspian Sea) and cause dramatic shifts in ecosystems by altering food webs (i.e., Black Sea). In addition, they are suspected to be indicators of climate change (i.e., increases of jellyfish in the Bering Sea).

Jellyfish comprise a large portion of the catch from the BASIS (Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey) trawl surveys in the Eastern Bering Sea (EBS). In an effort to learn more about these organisms, and in response to the increased research attention to jellyfish, NOAA Fisheries began the quantification of gelatinous bycatch on their BASIS trawl survey which targets epipelagic fish in the EBS from the surface to 18m. Collections of large hydrozoans (i.e., Staurophora mertensi) and schyphozoans (i.e., Cyanea capillata) began in fall 2004 and continues today.

Kristin Cieciel
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
(907) 789-6089

Chrysaora melanaster Cyanea Capillata Phallocephora camstichatica
Staurphora mertensi Aequorea sp. Aurelia labiata
Different types of Jellyfish found in the eastern Bearing Sea. All photos on page by K. Ciecel, M. Courtney, & L. Eisner


Supporting Research

  • Cieciel, K., L. Eisner, and M. Courtney (in review). Examining jellyfish distributions in relation to forage fish distributions and oceanographic parameters from surface trawls in the eastern Bering Sea. Journal of Plankton and Benthos Reasearch

  • Cieciel, K.D., L.B. Eisner, M.D. Courtney, and A.M. Feldmann 2006. Size structure, distribution and interaction characteristics of dominant jellyfish from surface trawls in the Eastern Bering Sea. Conference: PISCES -Boundary Current Ecosystems-Yokohoma, Japan. October 2006.
  • Cieciel, K.D. and L.B. Eisner 2005. Biomass and size distribution of jellyfish (Aequorea sp. and Chrysaora melanaster) in the Eastern Bering Sea. Conference: AFS in Anchorage September 2005.

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