MEPS 411:117-125 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08623

Enhanced pore-water nutrient fluxes by the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea sp. in a Red Sea coral reef

Carin Jantzen1,2,5,*, Christian Wild2, Mohammed Rasheed3, Mohammed El-Zibdah3, Claudio Richter4

1Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Fahrenheitstr. 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2Coral Reef Ecology (CORE) Work Group, GeoBio-Center, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Richard Wagnerstr. 10,
80333 München, Germany
3Marine Science Station Aqaba, The University of Jordan and Yarmouk University, PO Box 195, Aqaba, Jordan
4Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
5Present address: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany

ABSTRACT: The common circum-tropical jellyfish Cassiopea sp., unlike other members of the Rhizostomidae (Scyphozoa), exhibits a primarily benthic life. The peculiar orientation of its exumbrella against the sediment is believed to be associated with its mainly autotrophic nutrition, i.e. exposing its zooxanthellae-bearing photosynthetic oral appendages to the sunlight. Here we show that the jellyfish also acts as a nutrient pump, drawing nutrient-rich pore waters from the permeable sediments. Depletion of pore-water ammonium in situ, light-enhanced ammonium uptake, and high rates of photosynthesis determined via oxygen flux measurements and underwater fluorometer analysis (rapid light curves) show that Cassiopea sp. effectively harnesses pore-water nutrients. At high densities Cassiopea sp. may facilitate benthic-pelagic coupling and primary production in oligotrophic coral reefs.


KEY WORDS: Cassiopea sp. · Upside-down jellyfish · Advective pore-water transport · Nutrient uptake · Nutrient regeneration · Sediment · Photosynthesis · Zooxanthellae


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Cite this article as: Jantzen C, Wild C, Rasheed M, El-Zibdah M, Richter C (2010) Enhanced pore-water nutrient fluxes by the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea sp. in a Red Sea coral reef. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 411:117-125

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