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Observing and modeling long-term persistence of P. noctiluca in coupled complementary marine systems (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea and Messina Strait)
Bergamasco, A.; Cucco, A.; Guglielmo, L.; Minutoli, R.; Quattrocchi, G.; Guglielmo, R.; Palumbo, F.; Pansera, M.; Zagami, G.; Vodopivec, M.; Malej, A.; Granata, A. (2022). Observing and modeling long-term persistence of P. noctiluca in coupled complementary marine systems (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea and Messina Strait). NPG Scientific Reports 12(1): 14905. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18832-2
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
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  • Bergamasco, A., more
  • Cucco, A.
  • Guglielmo, L.
  • Minutoli, R.
  • Quattrocchi, G.
  • Guglielmo, R.
  • Palumbo, F.
  • Pansera, M.
  • Zagami, G.
  • Vodopivec, M.
  • Malej, A., more
  • Granata, A.

    In the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Messina (MS) is a very peculiar area, connecting highly different regions and representing a privileged observatory for an early comprehension and assessment of ecosystems shifts. It is hypothesized that the outbreaks observed near the coast of many sites in the Mediterranean Sea may be the result of transport of permanent populations of P. noctiluca in pelagic waters to the coast, caused by specific hydrodynamic conditions. By both visual observations and numerical experiments our objective is twofold: (A) to help clarify whether the basin of the Aeolian Islands Archipelago (AIA), in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea (STS), may be the site from which large populations of P. noctiluca are transported to the MS, and (B) to evaluate whether the upwelling turbulent system of the MS can be an energetic opportunity for this species. It should offer a rich habitat without jeopardizing the overall survival of the population, that is subject to stranding due to strong currents. Although very different, the two involved ecosystems (AIA and MS ) are complementary for the success of Pelagia noctiluca life cycle. Outputs obtained by coupling the 3D hydrodynamic model (SHYFEM) with a Lagrangian particle tracking model support the hypothesis of a connectivity between these two ecosystems, particularly in the first half of the year, indicating the coastal areas around the AIA as potential optimal source location for Pelagia larval stages. We support the very attractive hypothesis that two connected systems exist, the former one favours Pelagia's reproduction and acts as a nursery and the latter favours its growth due to higher productivity. We speculate that the reproductive population of the AIA is not permanent, but is renewed every year by individuals who have fed and quickly grown in the MS and who are passively transported by downwelling along canyon "corridors".

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