Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Ecological impact of the non-indigenous predatory cladoceran Cercopagis pengoi

Invasion of non-native species may pose significant impacts to native species and communities. The non-native predatory cladoceran Cercopagis pengoi is amongst the most widespread non-native species in the Baltic Sea. Ecological impact of Cercopagis pengoi was investigated 1) under laboratory conditions for feeding habits and dietary preferences, 2) by applying long-term high-frequency observational field data, and 3) through extensive literature review.


Cercopagis pengoi is able to consume very diverse prey and may pose structuring effect on mesozooplantkon communities.

Laboratory experiments confirm that C. pengoi can consume all types of provided prey (copepods, cladocerans, larvae of benthic invertebrates), higher prey density will lead to elevated consumption rates and C. pengoi prefers small-size less motile prey, such as Bosmina spp. and copepod nauplii. This information is important to consider when interpreting long-term dynamics of zooplankton communities in the Baltic Sea.


Food-web impact of Cercopagis pengoi on herring larvae is unlikely.

Abundant presence of the C. pengoi affected neither timing nor maximum abundance of copepod nauplii during the herring larvae first feeding period. This is likely due to temporal mismatch between the abundant presence of C. pengoi and first feeding of herring larvae. Thus, processes induced by climate variability are superior to invasion of C. pengoi in determining the timing and coupling of larval herring and copepod nauplii.

Relevance for Policy:
  • Alien Invasive Species Directive
  • Common Fisheries Policy
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • EU Biodiversity Strategy
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Data availability:

Data used: The data originate from various sources (field surveys, lab experiments) and contain annually aggregated larval fish and environmental data, and labatory experiments on feeding of the alien cladoceran.

Where it is held: Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu

Contact: Henn Ojaveer,

Availability: Most of the data (excl. larval fish data) are not open accessed as originate from varius funding sources. C. pengoi feeding data can be made freely available.

Larval fish data available at:


Lead Author:

Henn Ojaveer
Estonian Marine Institute (EMI-UT)
Date of research: October 2014

Related articles:

Vital rates of fish larvae 

Ecosystem impacts of non-indigenous species

Effects of invasive amphipod on native amphipods

Non-indigenous and invasive alien species

Early life stage survival of Baltic cod

Growth model for jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca 

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266445
© Vectors 2015. Coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory.