The scyphomedusae blooms of Chrysaora quinquecirrha effect the aquatic ecosystem they inhabit. Because it effects trophic interactions within the food chain and the distribution of nutrients, it is considered a keystone species. Feeding on ctenophores, C. quinquecirrha eliminates the main predator of copepods, thus positively influencing their abundance. Not only does a higher concentration of copepods benefit planktonic populations, it also benefits fish species that prey on plankton. When these gelatinous creatures die, their bodies collect on the underwater sediment and through decomposition contribute to the carbon cycle. Though these bodies contribute to the carbon cycle, they also contribute to the successful increase of bacteria growth.
Ecosystem Impact: keystone species
- Baird, D., R. Ulanowicz. 1989. The seasonal dynamics of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Ecological Monographs, 59 (4): 329-364.
- Purcell, J., M. Decker. 2005. Effects of climate on relative predation by scyphomedusae and ctenophores on copepods in Chesapeake Bay during 1987-2000. Limnology and Oceanography, 50 (1): 367-387.
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