Food quality matters: Interplay among food quality, food quantity and temperature affecting life history traits of Aurelia aurita (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) polyps

Chi, Xupeng, Mueller-Navarra, Doerthe C., Hylander, Samuel, Sommer, Ulrich and Javidpour, Jamileh (2019) Food quality matters: Interplay among food quality, food quantity and temperature affecting life history traits of Aurelia aurita (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) polyps Science of the Total Environment, 656 . pp. 1280-1288. DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.469.

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Understanding the interaction between organisms’ life history traits and environmental factors is an essential task in ecology. In spite of the increasing appreciation of jellyfish as an important component in marine ecosystem, there are still considerable gaps in understanding how the phase transition from the benthic polyp to the pelagic medusa stage is influenced by multiple environmental factors, including nutrition. To investigate survival, growth, and phase transition of Aurelia aurita polyps, we designed a factorial experiment manipulating food quantity (20 μg C, 5 μg C and 1.5 μg C polyp−1 every other day), food quality (Artemia salina and two dietary manipulated Acartia tonsa), and temperature (13 °C, 20 °C, and 27 °C). Temperature was the key factor determining phase transition of polyps and negatively affecting their survival rate and growth at 27 °C, which reflected a summer heatwave scenario. Furthermore, at polyps’ optimum tolerance temperature (20 °C) in our study, budding reproduction benefits from high food concentrations. Interestingly, polyps fed with food containing high level highly unsaturated fatty acid (HUFA) were able to compensate for physiological stress caused by the extreme temperature, and could enhance budding reproduction at optimum temperature. Moreover, benthic-pelagic coupling (strobilation) was determined by temperature but affected significantly by food conditions. Mild temperature together with optimum food conditions contributes to inducing more polyps, which may potentially bring about great ephyrae recruitments during overwintering. In contrast, heatwave events can potentially regulate plankton community structure accompanied by changes of nutritional conditions of primary and secondary producers and thus, negatively affect the population dynamics of polyps. We suggest a novel polyp tolerance curve, which can help to understand jellyfish population dynamics in different seasons and ecosystems. This sets up a baseline for understanding how anticipated global warming and food conditions may affect the population size of benthic polyps and consequently pelagic medusae.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Asexual reproduction; Jellyfish; Life history; Multiple stressors; Phase transition; Tolerance curve
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.469
ISSN: 0048-9697
Projects: GoJelly
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2018 12:26
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2018 12:26

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