Effects of global warming on reproduction and potential dispersal of Mediterranean Cnidarians

Maria Del Mar Bosch Belmar, Milisenda, Mar Bosch-Belmar, Stefano Piraino, Cinzia Gravili, Sergio Rossi, De Vito

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

16 Citazioni (Scopus)


Water temperature directly affects life cycles, reproductive periods, and metabolism of organisms living the oceans, especially in the surface zones. Due to the ocean warming, changes in water stratification and primary productivity are affecting trophic chains in sensitive world areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea. Benthic and pelagic cnidarians exhibit complex responses to climatic conditions. For example, the structure and phenology of the Mediterranean hydrozoan community displayed marked changes in species composition, bathymetric distribution, and reproductive timing over the last decades. The regional species pool remained stable in terms of species numbers but not in terms of species identity. When the Scyphozoa group is considered, we observe that Pelagia noctiluca (among the most abundant jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic waters) has increasingly frequent massive outbreaks associated to warmer winters. Variations in metabolic activities, such as respiration and excretion, are strongly temperature-dependent, with direct increment of energetic costs with jellyfish size and temperature, leading to growth rate reduction. Water temperature affects sexual reproduction through changes in the energy storage and gonad development cycles. Anthozoan life cycles depend also on primary productivity and temperature: gonadal production and spawning are tightly related in shallow populations (0–30 m depth) with the spring-summer temperature trends and autumn food availability. Overall, the energy transferred from the mother colonies to the offspring may decrease, negatively affecting their potential to settle, metamorphose and feed during the first months of their lives, eventually impairing the dominance of long-living cnidarian suspension feeders in shallow benthic habitats. In this review, we describe the already ongoing effects of sea warming on several features of cnidarian reproduction, trying to elucidate how reproductive traits and potential dispersion will be affected by the cascade effects of increasing temperature in the Mediterranean Sea.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)255-271
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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