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Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis) in the Mediterranean: A permanent invasion or a casual appearance?

AuthorsPrieto, Laura ; Macías, Diego ; Peliz, Álvaro; Ruiz Segura, Javier
Issue Date25-Jun-2015
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationScientific Reports 5: 11545 (2015)
AbstractIn 2010, the Mediterranean basin experienced Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis) swarms that had dramatic consequences, including the region’s first recorded human fatality attributed to a jellyfish sting. Despite the impact of jellyfish on coastal economic activity and the importance of the tourism industry for the Mediterranean region (accounting for 15% of global tourism), no scientific consensus has been achieved regarding the causes of this episode. Here, we analyse the meteorological and oceanographic conditions of the North-East Atlantic Ocean during the months previous to the appearance of P. physalis in the Mediterranean. We simulate the probable drift of Atlantic populations into the Mediterranean basin with a numerical model and compare model results with available observations. We conclude that the summer 2010 P. Physalis swarm was the result of an unusual combination of meteorological and oceanographic conditions during the previous winter and not a permanent invasion favoured by climatic changes.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11545
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