Drifting organisms in the ocean, plankton, lay the foundation for marine ecosystem productivity. Changes in plankton community composition and size ranges can have wide-ranging consequences for food-web structure, carbon flow and secondary production potential, which will impact fisheries and human welfare. Lately, gelatinous plankton, especially jellyfish, have raised large public attention. They are regarded to be winners of global change, negatively impacting ecosystem functions and services, while being deemed a dead-end in the food chain. However, the scientific knowledge base supporting these paradigms is weak. Gelatinous plankton span a wide range of taxonomic groups in the animal tree of life, sharing the trait of a mostly dilute carbon content and a soft, transparent body texture. Generally, they are severely understudied and even disregarded in most food-web models and oceanographic investigations. Irrespectively, gelatinous plankton can have important functions in marine food webs, contributing more to secondary production than classical crustacean plankton and are important food sources for early life stages of commercially important fish species such as Bluefin Tuna or European Eel. This key note will outline some observed and anticipated changes of marine systems, if an increase of gelatinous plankton under global change can be expected and how this might translate into future ocean productivity.
Cornelia Jaspers is biological oceanographer by training and has extensive experience working at sea and conducting in situ and laboratory experiments with gelatinous and classical zooplankton. While combining ship-born investigations with detailed laboratory experiments and experimental evolution studies, she has focused on gelatinous plankton and especially the effect of invasive species, their connectivity and population dynamics in native and non-native habitats.
She studied at University of Hamburg and Kiel University in Germany, attained her M.Sc. in Biological Oceanography from University of Southern Denmark and got her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Aqua). During her post doc time, she stayed at the Marine Biological Laboratory (USA) and the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research - GEOMAR, Germany. In 2019 and was awarded a Villum Young Investigator Program Grant to return to DTU Aqua as Senior Scientist and leader of the Centre for Gelatinous Plankton Ecology & Evolution.
Cornelia Jaspers is a Senior Scientist at Technical University of Denmark, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua) Centre for Gelatinous Plankton Ecology & Evolution in Lyngby, Denmark.