Table of Contents
International Journal of Oceanography
Volume 2015, Article ID 728753, 6 pages
Research Article

Relating Ctenophore Population to Water Mass Indices in the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Ecosystem

1Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908, USA
2NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

Received 7 October 2014; Revised 3 February 2015; Accepted 11 February 2015

Academic Editor: Renzo Perissinotto

Copyright © 2015 Rebecca Sparks et al. 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.


Ctenophores exist throughout the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Ecosystem, but the underlying mechanisms that control ctenophore populations at this scale are not clear. Ctenophore population data over the last 30 years coincides with changes in several water masses on the shelf, but discovering which water mass was most influential was problematic without mechanistic clarity. This paper strives to identify the relationship between oceanography and ctenophore populations over the last 30 years. Using a numerical modeling approach, we found a strong relationship between the North Atlantic Oscillation index, percent Labrador Subarctic Slope Water, and ctenophore population. We suggest these results might inform future efforts to develop a predictive capability for major changes in ctenophore population.