Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 827–841 | Cite as

Direct and indirect trophic interactions of Aurelia sp. (Scyphozoa) in a stratified marine environment (Mljet Lakes, Adriatic Sea)

  • A. MalejEmail author
  • V. Turk
  • D. Lučić
  • A. Benović
Research Article


The pattern of diel vertical migration and the trophic interactions of moon jelly (Aurelia sp.) were investigated in the sea lakes of Mljet Island (Adriatic Sea) where this scyphomedusa is present throughout the year. Water column characteristics, plankton and in situ behaviour of Aurelia were followed over several 24-h cycles (6–8 times during each cycle) from the surface to the bottom (44 m). Aurelia exhibited a consistent pattern of diel vertical migration. Most of the time Aurelia were located at the bottom of the thermocline layer at temperatures lower than 19°C. Aurelia migrated towards the surface at dusk when the majority was found within the thermocline or just above it. During the night the medusae sank into the deepest layers below 25 m. The main medusa food items inferred from stomach contents were small adult copepods like Oithona nana and Paracalanus parvus and copepodites of small calanoids and cyclopids. In addition, in situ feeding experiments indicated high clearance rates for nauplii and naked ciliates and clear response of bacterial populations pointing to indirect cascade effects of Aurelia on microbial in addition to classical food web.


Feeding Experiment Stomach Content Analysis Small Copepod Bell Diameter Large Enclosure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of the R Slovenia, the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the R Croatia funded this work. We also acknowledge the support of the US National Science Foundation (OCE-0116236). The authors thank J. Costello for his constructive criticism on the manuscript. We appreciate the valuable suggestions made by anonymous reviewers. We are grateful to the Mljet National Park authorities for the hospitality during field work, thanks also go to J. Forte, F. Kravos, T. Makovec, Č. Miloš, V. Onofri for their help in field work.


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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Biological StationNational Institute of BiologyPiranSlovenia
  2. 2.Institute for Marine and Coastal ResearchUniversity of DubrovnikDubrovnikCroatia

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