The influence of salinity on box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri, Cubozoa) statolith elemental chemistry

Mooney, Christopher J., and Kingsford, Michael J. (2016) The influence of salinity on box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri, Cubozoa) statolith elemental chemistry. Marine Biology, 163 (103). pp. 1-13.

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Very little is known on the sources and movements of the potentially fatal cubomedusae Chironex fleckeri found around estuary mouths and beaches along tropical coastlines of Australia. Largely anecdotal evidence suggests an alternating season of polyps in protected estuaries during the dry season and medusae emerging from estuaries to feed along beaches with the onset of the monsoonal season. An experiment was conducted on young wild-caught C. fleckeri medusae (caught at Cape York, Australia, in November 2012) to establish how elemental incorporation into statoliths was affected by salinity. A critical salinity test revealed medusae inhabit salinities >20. Medusae were held in salinities of 22, 26, 30 and 34 (n = 5 per treatment) for a duration of 4 days. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used to analyse experimental areas of statoliths and solution-based ICPMS used for analysing water samples taken from each treatment. Statolith Mg Ca−1 and the partition coefficient (DMg) significantly differed among treatments and were the only element Ca−1 ratios to do so. Multi-element Ca−1 signatures could also discriminate among salinity treatments. Partition coefficients revealed DMg, DSr and DLi were 2.62 × 10−6–0.81 and DBa, DMn and DZn 1.87–431. Experimental and strong correlative evidence suggested that temperature exposure and not salinity was responsible for the significant patterns seen in statolith Sr Ca−1 found by Mooney and Kingsford (2012). Statolith chemistry shows strong promise for determining the movement of medusae through water bodies where there are known thermal and salinity gradients.

Item ID: 48452
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Funders: Australian Lions Foundation
Date Deposited: 17 May 2017 23:49
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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