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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13517

Transgenerational acclimation influences asexual reproduction in Aurelia aurita jellyfish polyps in response to temperature

Yichun Lu, Cathy H. Lucas*, Alexandra Loveridge

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate change events and anthropogenic activities (e.g. translocation of non-indigenous species) have been proposed to account for the rise of jellyfish blooms in coastal environments. The bloom-forming scyphozoan jellyfish, Aurelia spp., has successfully invaded new habitats and caused damaging blooms as multiple locally-adapted species. In attempting to understand the underlying reasons for its success, researchers have investigated immediate effects of changing environmental conditions (e.g. temperature) on scyphistomae of single/unknown generation, with particular focus on asexual reproduction. However, it remains unclear how scyphistomae respond to changing conditions over longer time-scales or across generations, and how those responses influence bloom occurrence. Here, we examined the role of transgenerational acclimation in asexual reproduction of Aurelia aurita scyphistomae in a 72-d orthogonal experiment, combining 3 parental with 3 offspring temperatures of 8, 12 and 16°C. The null hypotheses were the parental (F0 generation) thermal history will not affect asexual reproduction in offspring (F1) generation. Our results indicated that, provided with a transgenerational temperature change, parent scyphistomae do modify the reproductive output and timing in offspring. Scyphistomae from ‘cold’ (8°C) parents displayed greatest reproduction output (2.86 buds scyphistomae-1) and earliest budding commencement (23.86 days) at warm temperature (16°C). Scyphistomae from ‘warm’ (16°C) parents displayed greatest reproduction potential (2.63 buds scyphistomae-1) at medium temperature (12°C). Cold temperature (8°C) caused considerable inhibition of asexual reproduction in offspring scyphistomae, independent of the parental thermal history. Transgenerational acclimation may benefit potentially invasive jellyfish species by facilitating asexual reproduction and subsequent bloom events, facing climate-related and/or human-induced changes in global marine environment.