SS4.04 The Relevance of Gelatinous Zooplankton to Interdisciplinary Linkages
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Location: Poster Session - VCC
 
Higgins IIIJE, University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, USA, hig3_2000@yahoo.com
Albright, H, L, University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, USA, 
Graham, W, M, University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, USA, 
 
PREDATION POTENTIAL OF DRYMONEMA DALMATINUM ON THE MOON JELLY, AURELIA AURITA, IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
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The first occurrence of the large medusa Drymonema dalmatinum Haeckle was documented across the north central Gulf of Mexico in October 2000. Though size varied, the largest individuals exceeded 70 cm diameter with tentacles estimated in excess of 30 m long. The occurrence of large numbers of these medusae was particularly interesting for their voracity on abundant local populations of Aurelia aurita. Highest consumption of A. aurita by D. dalmatinum apparently occurred along frontal boundaries or in Langmuir cells where predator and prey were most concentrated. Within these patches, we found from 0 to 34 (average of 6), partially digested A. aurita in the digestive sub-umbrellar tentacle mass of D. dalmatinum. Unusual scarring of free-swimming A. aurita indicated a 94% contact rate with D. dalmatinum at these local scales. Laboratory experiments revealed rapid digestion on A. aurita , and a 25 cm A. aurita could be completely digested in 3 hrs. Therefore, consumption rates on A. aurita could be as high as 326 medusae d-1, indicating significant predation potential by D. dalmatinum on the potentially increasing A. aurita stock in the northern Gulf of Mexico.