The total biomass of jellyfish on the shelf of the eastern Sea of Okhotsk in the summer is estimated as 1672700 tons according to the results of hydroacoustic measurements and 901000 tons by the method of squares. The use of hydroacoustic technologies makes evaluation of the actual stock and range of medusae more accurate, and the further enhancement and perfection of the hydroacoustic method based on multifrequency measurements enables one to obtain more reliable estimates. A significant increase (nearly 25 times) of the total jellyfish biomass takes place in the summer period. Cyanea prevailed in biomass in the spring and Chrysaora melanaster prevailed in the summer. Some species showed considerable expressed spatial differentiation of distribution and affinity to certain environmental conditions. The studied species were almost exclusively zoophages. Their algal diet consisted mainly of diatom algae. Scyphomedusa’s diet mainly included the so-called “peaceful” zooplankton, viz., euphausiids and copepods (as a rule, over 50% the mass), at the same time carnivorous zooplankton, saggits, amphipods, and small medusae also formed a substantial share of their diet. One individual of the predominant jellyfish species consumes a total of 6.1 to 70.5 kcal during its lifecycle, which corresponds to 79.1–513.0 g of raw organic material, assuming 70% assimilability. The relatively low demand for food of this sort can be explained by the low caloric value of the jellyfish body, 96–97% of which consists of water. The distribution and composition of the jellyfish prey show that scyphomedusae exert the greatest influence on the nekton community, as they concentrate in the shelf area of the eastern part of the sea, at walleye pollock spawning sites. There the larvae of bottom invertebrates, including commercially valuable organisms, such as crab and shrimp, are also consumed. In the summer, jellyfish eat nearly 100 billion eggs and 20 billion larvae of walleye pollock, as well as 130 billion decapod (mostly crab) larvae each day, which corresponds to 0.03% of the eggs and 0.003% of the larvae of walleye pollock and 0.003% of the decapod larvae in the estimated stock.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 12, 2010
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