Evidence of diel vertical migration in Mnemiopsis leidyi
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The vertical distribution and migration of plankton organisms may have a large impact on their horizontal dispersal and distribution, and consequently on trophic interactions. In this study we used video-net profiling to describe the fine scale vertical distribution of Mnemiopsis leidyi in the Kattegat and Baltic Proper. Potential diel vertical migration was also investigated by frequent filming during a 24-hour cycle at two contrasting locations with respect to salinity stratification. The video profiles revealed a pronounced diel vertical migration at one of the locations. However, only the small and medium size classes migrated, on average 0.85 m h-1, corresponding to a total migration distance of 10 m during 12 h. Larger individuals (with well developed lobes, approx. >27 mm) stay on average in the same depth interval at all times. Biophysical data suggest that migrating individuals likely responded to light, and avoided irradiance levels higher than approx. 10 µmol quanta m-2 s-1. We suggest that strong stratification caused by low surface salinity seemed to prohibit vertical migration.