Digestion and predation rates of zooplankton by the pleustonic hydrozoanvelella velellaand widespread blooms in 2013 and 2014
Purcell, Jennifer E.
Carrion, Steven A.
Doyle, Thomas K.
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Purcell, Jennifer E. Milisenda, Giacomo; Rizzo, Aldo; Carrion, Steven A.; Zampardi, Serena; Airoldi, Sabina; Zagami, Giacomo; Guglielmo, Letterio; Boero, Ferdinando; Doyle, Thomas K.; Piraino, Stefano (2015). Digestion and predation rates of zooplankton by the pleustonic hydrozoanvelella velellaand widespread blooms in 2013 and 2014. Journal of Plankton Research 37 (5), 1056-1067
Surface-dwelling colonies of Velella velella occur throughout tropical to cold-temperate oceans of the world and sometimes are stranded in masses along hundreds of kilometers of beaches. Large-scale blooms in the Western Mediterranean Sea in 2013 and 2014 allowed the study of diet, prey digestion times and predation rates. Gastrozooid content analyses showed that 59% of the 769 identified prey were euphausiid larvae (calytopsis and furcilia) captured at night. Copepods (41%), fish eggs (2.2%) and larvae (0.5%) were captured both at day and night. Digestion times at ambient temperature (similar to 17 degrees C) of calytopsis, furcilia and copepods were estimated to be &gt;6.5, 4.4 and 3.9 h, respectively. Estimated prey consumption was substantially lower in 2014 than in 2013 (41 vs. 75 prey day(-1) colony(-1)). Velella velella and other gelatinous species bloomed in the Mediterranean Sea and the northeastern Atlantic and Pacific oceans in 2013 and 2014. Because of the wide distribution of V. velella colonies, their mass occurrences, potential importance as predators and competitors of fish, additional production from symbiotic zooxanthellae and stranding on beaches, they could be important in open-ocean carbon cycling and in transport of pelagic production to landmasses.