Marine Biology

, Volume 154, Issue 4, pp 661–670 | Cite as

Population dynamics of natural colonies of Aurelia sp. scyphistomae in Tasmania, Australia

  • Simon Willcox
  • Natalie A. MoltschaniwskyjEmail author
  • Christine M. Crawford
Research Article


The aim of this study was to identify potential environmental controls of the asexual phases of reproduction by measuring the rates of asexual reproduction (budding and strobilation) and mortality in naturally occurring populations of Aurelia sp. scyphistomae at different spatial and temporal scales. The percentage cover, density of colonies of Aurelia sp. scyphistomae, and density of the population of two naturally occurring colonies of Aurelia sp. scyphistomae were examined over 2 years in southern Tasmania. Artificial substrates were also deployed to investigate colony dynamics when density dependent effects were reduced. Clear spatial and temporal differences in the population dynamics of the colonies were observed. Density dependent effects controlled budding and recruitment of new scyphistomae to the substrate when populations were dense and space limiting. In contrast, environmental controls of budding and strobilation were more apparent in a colony with significantly greater area of bare substrate and hence room for expansion. Water temperature and rainfall (as a proxy for salinity) were linked to changes in population size. Annual and seasonal differences in population dynamics were not observed in a colony limited by space but were apparent in a colony where space was not limited. When space was removed as a limiting factor by deploying artificial substrates, a seasonal environmental effect on the rate of growth of the colony was observed. These studies suggest that the growth, survival and reproduction of the sessile colonial phase of Aurelia sp. is regulated by a combination of density dependent factors and environmental conditions, which are consequently important to the formation of jellyfish blooms.


Percent Cover Asexual Reproduction Artificial Substrate Site Density Bare Substrate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the initially four, and after amalgamations, two salmon farming companies, Tassal Ltd and Huon Aquaculture Pty. Ltd for their financial support, sharing of information and logistical support on the water. This research was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant to C.M.C and N.A.M.


  1. Båmstedt U, Fossa JH, Martinussen MB, Fosshagen A (1998) Mass occurrence of the physonect siphonophore Apolemia uvaria (Leseur) in Norwegian waters. Sarsia 83:79–85Google Scholar
  2. Brodeur RD, Sugisaki H, Hunt GLJ (2002) Increases in jellyfish biomass in the Bering Sea: implications for the ecosystem. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 233:89–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheshuck B (2001) The potential of integrated open water mussel (Mytilus planulatus) and Atlantic samon (Salmo salar) culture in North West Bay, Tasmania. PhD Thesis, Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, p 263Google Scholar
  4. Colin SP, Kremer P (2002) Population maintenance of the scyphozoan Cyanea sp. settled planulae and the distribution of medusae in the Niantic River, Connecticut, USA. Estuaries 25:70–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Coyne JA (1973) An investigation of the dynamics of population growth and control in scyphistomae of the scyphozoan Aurelia aurita. Chesapeake Sci 14:55–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Custance D (1964) Light as an inhibitor of strobilation in Aurelia aurita. Nature 204:1219–1220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doyle TK, Houghton JDR, Buckley SM, Hays GC, Davenport J (2007) The broad-scale distribution of five jellyfish species across a temperate coastal environment. Hydrobiologia 579:29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fischer BA, Hofmann KD (2004) Budding, bud morphogenesis, and regeneration in Carybdea marsupialis Linnaeus, 1758 (Cnidaria: Cubozoa). Hydrobiologia 530/531:331–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gong A (2001) Allocation to clonal replication in a Scyphozoan (Aurelia), PhD Thesis, University of California, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  10. Gröndahl F, Hernroth L (1987) Release and growth of Cyanea capilata (L.) ephyrae in the Gullmar Fjord, western Sweden. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 106:91–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Halisch W (1933) Brobachtungen an Scyphopolypen. Zool Anzeigischer 104:206–304Google Scholar
  12. Harper J (1985) Modules, branches and capture of resources. In: Jackson J, Buss W, Cook R (eds) Population biology and evolution of clonal organisms. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 1–33Google Scholar
  13. Harris G, Griffiths FB, Clementson LA, Lyne VD, Van der Doe H (1991) Seasonal and interannual variability in physical processes, nutrient cycling and the structure of the food chain in Tasmanian shelf waters. J Plankton Res 13:109–131Google Scholar
  14. Hernroth L, Gröndahl F (1983) On the biology of Aurelia aurita (L.) 1. Release and growth of Aurelia aurita (L.) Ephyrae in the Gullmar Fjord, Western Sweden, 1982–1983. Ophelia 22:189–199Google Scholar
  15. Hernroth L, Gröndahl F (1985a) On the biology of Aurelia aurita (L.): 2. Major factors regulating the occurence of ephyrae and young medusae in the Gullmar Fjord, western Sweden. Bull Mar Sci 37:567–576Google Scholar
  16. Hernroth L, Gröndahl F (1985b) On the biology of Aurelia aurita (L.): 3. predation by Coryphella verrucosa (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia), a major factor regulating the development of Aurelia populations in the Gullmar Fjord, western Sweden. Ophelia 24:37–45Google Scholar
  17. Holst S, Jarms G (2007) Substrate choice and settlement preferences of planula larvae of five Scyphozoa (Cnidaria) from German Bight, North Sea. Mar Biol 151(3):863–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hughes RN, Cancino JN (1985) An ecological overview of cloning in metazoa. In: Jackson JBC, Buss LW, Cook RE (eds) Population biology and evolution of clonal organisms. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 153–186Google Scholar
  19. Jackson JSC (1985) Distribution and ecology of clonal and aclonal benthic invertebrates. In: Jackson JSC, Buss LW, Cook R (eds) Population biology and evolution of clonal organisms. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  20. Kakinuma Y (1975) An experimental study of the life cycle and organ differentiation of Aurelia aurita (Lamark). Bull Mar Biol Stn Asamushi 15:101–116Google Scholar
  21. Keen S (1991) Clonal dynamics and life history evolution in the jellyfish Aurelia aurita, PhD Thesis, University of California, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  22. Keen S, Gong A (1989) Genotype and feeding frequency affect clone formation in a marine cnidarian (Aurelia aurita Lamark 1816). Funct Ecol 3:735–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lucas C (2001) Reproduction and life history strategies of the common jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, in relation to its ambient environment. Hydrobiologia 451:229–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lynam CP, Hay SJ, Brierley AS (2004) Interannual variability in abundance of North Sea jellyfish and links to the North Atlantic Oscillation. Limnol Oceanog 49:637–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Miyake H, Terazaki M, Kakinuma Y (2002) On the polyps of the common jellyfish Aurelia aurita in Kagoshima Bay. J Oceanog 58:451–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Omori M, Ishii H, Fujinaga A (1995) Life history strategy of Aurelia aurita (Cnidaria, Scyphomedusae) and its impact on the zooplankton community of Tokyo Bay. ICES J Mar Sci 52:597–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Osman RW, Whitlatch RB (2004) The control of the development of a marine benthic community by predation on recruits. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 311:117–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Palmen E (1953) Seasonal occurence of ephyrae and subsequent instars of Aurelia aurita (L.) in the shallow waters of Tvärminne, S. Finland. Soc Zool Bot Fenn Vanamo 8:122–131Google Scholar
  29. Purcell JE, White JR, Nemazie DA, Wright DA (1999) Temperature, salinity and food effects on asexual reproduction and abundance of the scyphozoan Chrysaora quinquecirrha. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 180:187–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Purcell JE (2007) Environmental effects on asexual reproduction rates of the scyphozoan Aurelia labiate. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 348:183–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rasmussen E (1973) Systematics and ecology of the Isefjord marine fauna (Denmark). Ophelia 11:1–507Google Scholar
  32. Roff DA (1992) The evolution of life histories. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Silverstone M, Tosteson T, Cutress C (1977) The effect of iodine and various iodocompounds on initiation of strobilation in Aurelia. Gen Comp Endocrinol 32:108–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Spangenberg D (1965) Cultivation of the life stages of Aurelia aurita under controlled conditions. J Exp Zool 159:303–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Spangenberg D (1968) Recent studies of strobilation in jellyfish. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 6:231–247Google Scholar
  36. Watanabe T, Ishii H (2001) An in situ estimation of the number of ephyrae liberated from polyps of Aurelia aurita on settling plates in Tokyo Bay. Hydrobiologia 451:247–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Willcox S, Moltschaniwskyj N, Crawford C (2007) Asexual reproduction in scyphistomae of Aurelia sp.: effects of temperature and salinity in an experimental study. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 353(1):107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Willcox
    • 1
    • 2
  • Natalie A. Moltschaniwskyj
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christine M. Crawford
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Research Laboratories, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries InstituteUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.School of Aquaculture, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries InstituteUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

Personalised recommendations