, Volume 815, Issue 1, pp 165–176 | Cite as

Effects of low salinity on the physiological ecology of planulae and polyps of scyphozoans in the East Asian Marginal Seas: potential impacts of monsoon rainfall on medusa population size

  • Mariko Takao
  • Shin-ichi Uye
Primary Research Paper


Salinity is hypothesized to influence the abundance of scyphozoan medusae in the East Asian Marginal Seas, as their spawning largely coincides with the summer monsoon season, and extreme rainfalls subject planulae to reduced salinity, presumably jeopardizing the recruitment of polyps. We examined the effects of different salinities (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 32) on body size, swimming speed, survivorship and settlement of planulae, and subsequent development of metamorphosed polyps of three bloom-forming scyphozoans: Chrysaora pacifica, Nemopilema nomurai, and Rhopilema esculentum. Their physiology and behaviors were affected by osmotic stress, but differed by species. At 5, planulae of all species died. At 10, C. pacifica could not settle but survived as plankton, whereas N. nomurai and R. esculentum could settle and develop into four-tentacle polyps, yet the former showing delayed development and tentacle abnormalities. The lowest salinities permitting normal recruitment of polyps were 10, 15, and 20 for R. esculentum, N. nomurai, and C. pacifica, respectively. Inter-annual variations in monsoon rainfall can alter hydrographic conditions in the polyp habitats, affecting medusa population sizes in the following year. The robustness to low salinity of R. esculentum and N. nomurai larvae may enable them to establish yet-to-be-identified polyp populations in brackish-water environments.


Jellyfish bloom Monsoon Osmotic stress Polyp habitat Recruitment 



We would like to thank Keats Conley for her valuable comments on an early version of the manuscript and Hideki Ikeda for his assistance in field sampling. We are also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. This work was partially supported by a Grant from the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council, Japan (Project name: STOPJELLY), and JSPS KAKENHI (No. 16K07826).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Biosphere ScienceHiroshima UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan

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