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About the project

The ‘Mneniopis Ecology, Modelling and Observation’ project investigates the invasive American comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi in the North Sea.

The project seeks a better understanding of the identification, biology and physiology of the comb jelly, attendance, behaviour and impact monitoring in the North Sea and the development of models to assess the ecological and economic impact of M. leidyi in the 2 Seas region.

The American comb jelly comes from the Atlantic Ocean near the North American coast and is presumably transferred to other regions by ballast water from ships.

The invasiveness of M. Leidyi in the Black and Caspian Sea in the 80s led to a major change in the marine ecosystem and economic losses due to a decline in fish and shellfish stocks.

In 2006 this species was detected in different regions of the 2 Seas area. The spread of M. Leidyi in this area is a major concern because of the presence of important spawning and nursery areas and migration routes for many commercial fish and shellfish.



  • Development of standard procedures for identification, monitoring and modeling of potential habitat and population dynamics of M. leidyi.
  • Study of the physiology, eating behaviour and potential predators of the species through experiments and mathematical models.
  • Evaluation of the potential environmental and socio-economic costs of the impact of the species by an ecosystem-based approach.

The ultimate goal is to inform, with the support of the European Union, stakeholders and the general public about the potential risk of M. leidyi on the marine ecosystem and professional activities in the 2 Seas region and to identify possible measures to bring solace to counter this threat.


The project is implemented through the partnership between research institutes – ILVO, IFREMER, ULCO-LOG, CEFAS and Deltares – and led by ILVO.

The Interreg IVa MEMO-2 Seas Programme is a unique opportunity to improve and standardize the monitoring of the various partners in this region. This crossborder cooperation will ensure an exchange of expertise on taxonomy (species determination), identification, databases, data analysis and modeling between renowned marine institutes.

Contact: Kerry Turner



The project was funded by the EU Interreg IVa MEMO-2 Seas Programme. Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 is an EU Programme covering England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders).