Behavioural and oceanographic isolation of an island-based jellyfish (Copula sivickisi, Class Cubozoa) population

Jodie A. Schlaefer, Eric Wolanski, Jonathan Lambrechts, Michael J. Kingsford
2021 Scientific Reports  
AbstractCubozoan jellyfish are classified as plankton despite the strong swimming and orientation abilities of cubomedusae. How these capabilities could affect cubozoan population structures is poorly understood. Medusae of the cubozoan Copula sivickisi can uniquely attach to surfaces with the sticky pads on their bells. Biophysical modelling was used to investigate the spatial scales of connectivity in a C. sivickisi population. When the medusae were active at night they could maintain their
more » ... served distribution on fringing reef if they attached to the reef when the current speed exceeded a moderate threshold. This behaviour facilitated the isolation of a C. sivickisi population on reefs fringing Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia. Within this distribution, there was considerable within bay retention and medusae rarely travelled > 3 km. The few (< 0.1%) medusae lost from the island habitat were largely advected into open water and away from the mainland coast which lies 8 km from the island. Given that successful emigration is unlikely, the island population probably represents a stock that is ecologically distinct from any mainland populations. The cosmopolitan distribution of C. sivickisi could contain incipient or cryptic species given the small scales of connectivity demonstrated here.
doi:10.1038/s41598-021-89755-7 pmid:33986430 fatcat:3fqesbw6abenpatorxwa3zbt5y