Funded by: The Norwegian Research Council
Project Coordinator: Akvaplan-niva
NIVA leader: Phil Wallhead
"Combined effects of multiple organic stressors from jellyfish blooms and aquaculture operations on seafloor ecosystems" (JELLYFARM) is a project funded by the Norwegian Research Council running 2015-2018.
Ocean health is declining due to a combination of climate warming and human activities, and this is often accompanied by a reduction in ecosystem services. This decline is particularly evident in coastal regions where inputs from municipal, agricultural, aquaculture and industrial sources lead to blooms of algae and gelatinous plankton. In Norway, one of the main threats to the health of coastal ecosystems is an increase in the deposition of organic matter to the sea floor. Excess feed and fish-waste from fish farms are major sources of organic matter, and the sinking of dead jellyfish, an increasing problem in some fjords, is another. This organic matter can alter the nutrient cycling on the sea floor and, in some cases, result in severe depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water. This can have impacts throughout the ecosystem, as well as upon the economic services that the ecosystems provide for society.
In the JELLYFARM project our researchers will investigate the effects of organic inputs from these two sources individually and in combination, in both southern and northern Norwegian fjords. We will use modern technology to quantify the inputs and the consumption of organic matter at the sea floor, and then bring these data into state-of-the-art ecosystem models to put them in a broader context. We will then use the modelled predictions to identify the effects of organic enrichment on ecosystem services. Finally these results will be presented to diverse stakeholders for use in coastal planning and management decisions.