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The ocean sunfish Mola mola : insights into distribution, abundance and behaviour in the Irish and Celtic Seas

Houghton, Jonathan D.R., Doyle, Thomas K., Davenport, John and Hays, Graeme C. 2006, The ocean sunfish Mola mola : insights into distribution, abundance and behaviour in the Irish and Celtic Seas, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, vol. 86, no. 5, pp. 1237-1243, doi: 10.1017/S002531540601424X.

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Title The ocean sunfish Mola mola : insights into distribution, abundance and behaviour in the Irish and Celtic Seas
Author(s) Houghton, Jonathan D.R.
Doyle, Thomas K.
Davenport, John
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C. orcid.org/0000-0002-3314-8189
Journal name Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume number 86
Issue number 5
Start page 1237
End page 1243
Total pages 7
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Place of publication Cambridge, England
Publication date 2006-10
ISSN 0025-3154
1469-7769
Summary Here we provide baseline data on the distribution and abundance of Mola mola within the Irish and Celtic Seas, made during aerial surveys from June to October during 2003–2005. These data were considered in conjunction with concurrent observations of three potential jellyfish prey species found throughout the region: Rhizostoma octopus, Chrysaora hysoscella and Cyanea capillata. A total area of 7850 km2 was surveyed over the three years with an observed abundance of 68 sunfish giving a density of 0.98 ind/100 km2. Although modest, these findings highlight that the species is more common than once thought around Britain and Ireland and an order of magnitude greater than the other apex jellyfish predator found in the region, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Furthermore, the distribution of sunfish sightings was inconsistent with the extensive aggregations of Rhizostoma octopus found throughout the study area. The modelled distributions of predator–prey co-occurrence (using data for all three jellyfish species) was less than the observed co-occurrence with the implication that neither jellyfish nor sunfish were randomly distributed but co-occurred more in the same areas than expected by chance. Finally, observed sunfish were typically small ([similar]1 m or less) and seen to either bask or actively swim at the surface.
Language eng
DOI 10.1017/S002531540601424X
Field of Research 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Cambridge University Press
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058371

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.