Behavioural maintenance of highly localised jellyfish (Copula sivickisi, class Cubozoa) populations

Schlaefer, Jodie A., Wolanski, Eric, Yadav, Shreya, and Kingsford, Michael J. (2020) Behavioural maintenance of highly localised jellyfish (Copula sivickisi, class Cubozoa) populations. Marine Biology, 167. 40.

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The medusae of cubozoan jellyfishes have sophisticated behaviours and are strong swimmers. Therefore, they have the potential to influence their distribution and connectivity among populations. We used ecological and behavioural data in combination with local oceanography to estimate the potential of medusae in the cubozoan Copula sivickisi to disperse from local populations at scales of hundreds of meters to kilometres. The distribution of C. sivickisi was mapped on a fringing reef at Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia, with underwater jellyfish camera units (JCams). The availability of reef habitat, dominated by Sargassum sp. algae and coral, had a significant effect on the abundance of medusae. Medusae were 11–7 times more abundant at shallow (≤ 4.1 m) and mid-depth (4.2–7 m) sites with high to moderate habitat availability, compared to deep sites (≥ 7.1 m) where habitat availability was low. Further, medusae were absent at sites far from suitable habitat, both alongshore and in deeper waters. Medusae displayed preferential habitat selection. They were found low in the water column near reefs in depth stratified plankton tows and they preferentially attached to Sargassum in a habitat choice experiment. The swimming speeds of C. sivickisi medusae were determined experimentally and were equivalent to or faster than most of the current speeds measured where the populations occured. The results suggested that medusae can attach to habitat and swim against currents to maintain positions on reefs, thereby restricting dispersal. Incipient speciation is highly likely within the species' cosmopolitan distribution.

Item ID: 62428
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
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Copyright Information: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Schlaefer, Jodie Anne (2020) Determining the population structures of cubozoan jellyfishes with biophysical modelling. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2020 01:53
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 60%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 60%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 40%
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