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Range expansion of tropical pyrosomes in the northeast Pacific Ocean Public Deposited

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  • Pyrosomes are colonial pelagic tunicates that have fascinated marine biologists for over a century. Their name comes from the “fiery” bioluminescence that luminous organs produce at night time. Blooms of pyrosomes, identified as Pyrosoma atlanticum (Peron, 1804), have recently appeared in the North Pacific Ocean, prompting questions about environmental factors that triggered their appearance and persistence over multiple seasons as well as potential ecosystem impacts. Pyrosomes remain one of the least‐studied planktonic grazers, in spite of their widespread distribution and ecological significance. Like other pelagic tunicates, pyrosomes are known to form high density blooms reaching tens of individuals per cubic meter, with swarms of P. atlanticum removing >50% of phytoplankton standing stock in the 0–10 m layer (Drits et al. 1992). Most species, including P. atlanticum, have been considered tropical to subtropical in their distribution (Van Soest 1981) with blooms previously reported in the southeast Atlantic (Drits et al. 1992) and the northwest Mediterranean (Andersen and Sardou 1994).
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  • Sutherland, K. R., Sorensen, H. L., Blondheim, O. N., Brodeur, R. D. and Galloway, A. W. (2018), Range expansion of tropical pyrosomes in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Ecology, 99: 2397-2399. doi:10.1002/ecy.2429
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  • 99
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  • 10
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