Jellyfish populations apparently have increased in some places around the world and human problems with them also have increased. However, effects of jellyfish outbreaks in the ecosystems remain poorly understood and little or no information is available on their dietary preferences - in relation to the seasonal shifts of prey abundance - and on the potential variability of their impact on marine food webs. The mauve stinger Pelagia noctiluca (Forsskål, 1775) is by far the most common outbreak-forming scyphozoan jellyfish in the Western Mediterranean. By use of a combination of stomach contents, stable isotope (SI) and fatty acid (FA) analyses, we tested the hypothesis that changes in the seasonal dietary sources of P. noctiluca parallel changes in the FA and SI composition. Stomach content and biomarker analyses suggested that P. noctiluca is not a selective predator, cyclically shifting between carnivory and omnivory depending on the seasonality of accessible prey. The combination of SI and FA analyses highlighted the importance of microzooplankton as prey. Specific FA biomarkers showed that the diet of P. noctiluca changed seasonally depending on the availability of living plankton or suspended detritus. This study also revealed significant biochemical differences between jellyfish somatic and gonadal tissues, with total fatty acid concentration in the gonads up to ten times higher than in the somatic tissues.
|Numero di pagine||13|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2018|
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