Table of Contents
International Journal of Oceanography
Volume 2014, Article ID 851809, 8 pages
Research Article

Bounds on Biomass Estimates and Energetic Consequences of Ctenophora in the Northeast U.S. Shelf Ecosystem

1National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
2National Marine Fisheries Service, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA

Received 19 July 2013; Revised 29 October 2013; Accepted 4 November 2013; Published 29 January 2014

Academic Editor: Heinrich Hühnerfuss

Copyright © 2014 Michael D. Ford and Jason S. Link. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous descriptions have noted that the stomach samples of spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias, showed a major increase in the overall occurrence and hence implied abundance of Ctenophora. This apparent and persistent gelatinous zooplankton outbreak is increasingly more common in the world’s oceans. We briefly explore the energetic ramifications of ctenophores in the spiny dogfish diet, inferring that the presence of gelatinous zooplankton represents an ambient feeding strategy. Relative to other prey, ctenophores are not a high energy density prey item. However, given varying assumptions of the amount of ctenophores consumed, they may be an important staple in the diet of spiny dogfish. We also examine the utility of using spiny dogfish as a gelatinous zooplankton sampling device. Using five calculation methodologies, we provide bounds on potential abundance and biomass estimates of ctenophores in the Northeast U.S. shelf ecosystem. We then contextualize these findings relative to the implications for the Northeast U.S. and any large marine ecosystem.