Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Paul A. X. Bologna

Committee Member

John J. Gaynor

Committee Member

Meiyin S. Wu


Zooplankton--New Jersey--Barnegat Bay, Sea nettle--New Jersey--Barnegat Bay, Mnemiopsis leidyi--New Jersey--Barnegat Bay


Local populations of gelatinous zooplankton are experiencing increases in response to changes in coastal ecosystems due to anthropogenic forces. The abundance of the Atlantic sea nettle (Chrysaora quinquecirrha) has dramatically increased in Barnegat Bay, NJ. Lift net sampling was used to determine the density and distribution of sea nettle and ctenophore {Mnemiopsis leidyi) populations, while zooplankton tows were used to compare relationships between their abundance to that of other zooplankton species. Lift net results showed substantial spatial and temporal variability in density and distribution of ctenophores and sea nettles, with these patterns being inversely proportional. Chrysaora quinquecirrha was more abundant in north Barnegat Bay while Mnemiopsis leidyi was more abundant in the south. Zooplankton tow results showed similar trends on spatial and temporal scales. Chrysaora quinquecirrha was collected in southern sample sites, suggesting the expansion of sea nettles in Barnegat Bay. Correlation analysis for the abundance of Mnemiopsis leidyi against other zooplankton suggests predation upon copepods, fish eggs, larval fish, crab and shrimp larvae and is indicative of potential top-down structuring forces in the pelagic community. Correlation analysis between C. quinquecirrha and M. leidyi suggests predation upon the ctenophore species by the scyphozoan.

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