Jellyfish in the Bering Sea 2018

What Are They Doing?

A Chrysaora melanaster jellyfish was obtained from a tow net.A Chrysaora melanaster jellyfish was obtained from a tow net. Eastern Bering Sea (EBS) jellyfish populations have fluctuated dramatically during the past three decades. When jellyfish populations are high, they likely have major impacts on the Bering Sea food web. This project will estimate the age structure and age-specific abundances of the predominant jellyfish in the Bering Sea, Chrysaora melanaster, in order to understand how their population size changes with time.

The ultimate goal is to estimate the reproductive capacity and success of this jellyfish in relation to climate variability and to investigate the potential for jellyfish population increases to become a recurring pattern in the Bering Sea under future climate scenarios. This will in turn enable forecasting of jellyfish abundance and their predatory impacts in the Bering Sea ecosystem.

Where Are They?

The R/V Sikuliaq docked in Nome, AlaskaThe R/V Sikuliaq docked in Nome, Alaska The team will conduct their work aboard the Sikuliaq research vessel in the eastern Bering Sea. Their testing site is along the northern coast of Unimak Island, Eastern Aleutians in an area known as the “slime bank”.

Expedition Map

Project Information

Dates: 24 June 2018 to 4 July 2018
Location: Ship-based, Eastern Bering Sea
Project Funded Title: Demographic structure and recruitment patterns of the scyphozoan, Chrysaora melanaster, in the Bering Sea: the influence of climate on ecosystem function.

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Meet the Team

Joanna Chierici's picture
Melvin H. Kreps Middle School
Roebling, NJ
United States

Originally from England, Joanna Chierici currently teaches General science at Melvin H. Kreps middle School in East Windsor, New Jersey. She has twenty six years of teaching experience as a classroom teacher at both the middle school and high school level. In addition to her work in the classroom, Ms. Chierici has been part of the Polar-ICE project through Rutgers University and she has developed many resources to help facilitate the teaching of the Polar Regions. She has Bachelors degree in Chemistry and a Master’s degree in science education.

Mary Beth Decker's picture
Yale University
New Haven, CT
United States

Mary Beth Decker is a Biological Oceanographer and Ecologist specializing in the influence of ocean conditions on the distribution, abundance, and behavior of marine predators. Mary Beth works on plankton-consuming predators of the Bering Sea ecosystem, in particular jellyfish and forage fish. She is particularly interested in how climate variability influences jellyfish populations, and how jellyfish blooms in turn affect food webs via predation and competition. She teaches three courses at Yale: Biological Oceanography, Coastal Ecosystems in a Changing World, and Caribbean Coastal Development.

Hongsheng Bi's picture
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Solomons, MD
United States

Hongsheng Bi is a Biological Oceanographer specializing in the fine-scale spatial distributions of different marine organisms and their trophic interactions. Hongsheng deploys advanced optical and high-resolution sonar imaging systems to quantify the spatial distributions and overlap of plankton, forage fish and jellyfish. He is particularly interested in how jellyfish affect the spatial and temporal dynamics forage species. Hongsheng’s group operates a towed zooplankton imaging system (PlanktonScope), two adaptive resolution imaging sonar (ARIS) systems and a time-resolved Tomographic Particle Image Velocimetry at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

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Latest Comments

I worked the plankton net trawl and the sorting, labeling and preserving of the samples. I did day shift, 6am to 6pm but we overlapped and I often didn't finish until after 8pm.
a couple of Orcas and Humpbacks in Dutch Harbor
Never mind my question from a previous journal--I have found the answer to my question about the Sikuliaq! I see you found the "tech guy" and already made fast friends. Well done, Joanna. :) Can't...
What does the name of the ship mean? And who named it?
Joanna, I love how you took the time to explore--you sound like an expert in the engine room! And all the birds must be wonderful to see. Yay for decent coffee, too. What more could you ask for?