Current-oriented swimming by jellyfish and its role in bloom maintenance

Fossette,S, Gleiss,A, Chalumeau,J, Bastian,T, Armstrong,C, Vandenabeele,S, Karpytchev,M and Hays,G 2015, Current-oriented swimming by jellyfish and its role in bloom maintenance, Current biology, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 342-347, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.050.

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Title Current-oriented swimming by jellyfish and its role in bloom maintenance
Author(s) Fossette,S
Hays,GORCID iD for Hays,G
Journal name Current biology
Volume number 26
Issue number 3
Start page 342
End page 347
Total pages 6
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2015-02
ISSN 0960-9822
Summary Cross-flows (winds or currents) affect animal movements [1-3]. Animals can temporarily be carried off course or permanently carried away from their preferred habitat by drift depending on their own traveling speed in relation to that of the flow [1]. Animals able to only weakly fly or swim will be the most impacted (e.g., [4]). To circumvent this problem, animals must be able to detect the effects of flow on their movements and respond to it [1, 2]. Here, we show that a weakly swimming organism, the jellyfish Rhizostoma octopus, can orientate its movements with respect to currents and that this behavior is key to the maintenance of blooms and essential to reduce the probability of stranding. We combined insitu observations with first-time deployment of accelerometers on free-ranging jellyfish and simulated the behavior observed in wild jellyfish within a high-resolution hydrodynamic model. Our results show that jellyfish can actively swim countercurrent in response to current drift, leading to significant life-history benefits, i.e., increased chance of survival and facilitated bloom formation. Current-oriented swimming may be achieved by jellyfish either directly detecting current shear across their body surface [5] or indirectly assessing drift direction using other cues (e.g., magnetic, infrasound). Our coupled behavioral-hydrodynamic model provides new evidence that current-oriented swimming contributes to jellyfish being able to form aggregations of hundreds to millions of individuals for up to several months, which may have substantial ecosystem and socioeconomic consequences [6, 7]. It also contributes to improve predictions of jellyfish blooms' magnitude and movements in coastal waters. Current drift can have major and potentially negative effects on the lives of weakly swimming species in particular. Fossette etal. show that jellyfish modulate their swimming behavior in relation to current. Such oriented swimming has significant life-history benefits, such as increased bloom formation and a reduction of probability of stranding.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.050
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 960808 Marine Flora
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Elsevier
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