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, Alaska
The 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

Dates
-
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.
Related Expeditions
Joanna Chierici - Educator
Educator
Melvin H. Kreps Middle School

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 - Researcher
Researcher
Yale University

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 - Researcher
Researcher
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

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.

Latest Journals

Our last day in Unalaska was devoted to outreach and meeting the locals to tell them about our research and the area around them called Margaret’s Bay. We had a radio interview planned with KUCB to discuss our research and advertise the event, and then the outreach event was held at the Museum of…
Anyone who knows me knows I am a big fan of the Deadliest Catch. One thing you see in the TV show whenever they are in Dutch Harbor are the eagles. I kind of thought it was staged but no, they are everywhere! In fact, you are hard pushed to see any other type of bird. I did met a local lady who…
Fireworks are hard in the summer in Alaska because of the long daylight hours. The fireworks in Dutch Harbor were actually at midnight at the beginning of July 4th for this very reason and it still was barely dark. It was a great start to the holiday and a great way to celebrate the end of our…
Today is our last day at sea. The wind has picked up over night and I awoke to the sounds of doors opening and closing and drawers slamming back and forth. As I woke I realized that I was moving around much more in my bunk. The increased movement made it interesting to take a shower and get dressed…
Before I left, my students wrote questions for me to answer on my trip. Here are some of the answers Flag made by one of my students. From Brian: Q: What is the “Puffy stuff” inside the Jellyfish? A: The “puffy stuff” are in fact oral arms that bring the food to the mouth of the jellyfish,…
We are now two days into collecting our data and I thought that I would spend some time explaining why we are here. Our testing site is along the northern coast of Unimak Island, Eastern Aleutians in an area known as the “slime bank”. So named by fishermen on account of the abundance of jellyfish…

Jellyfish in the Bering Sea 2018 Resources