Predator-induced vertical behavior of a ctenophore
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Although many studies have focused on Mnemiopsis leidyi predation, little is known about the role of this ctenophore as prey when abundant in native and invaded pelagic systems. We examined the response of the ctenophore M. leidyi to the predatory ctenophore Beroe ovata in an experiment in which the two species could potentially sense each other while being physically separated. On average, M. leidyi responded to the predator’s presence by increasing variability in swimming speeds and by lowering their vertical distribution. Such behavior may help explain field records of vertical migration, as well as stratified and near-bottom distributions of M. leidyi.
KeywordsBeroe spp. Mnemiopsis leidyi Ctenophore Behavior Vertical distribution Predator–prey
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We thank J. E. Skjæraasen, P. Tiselius, E. Selander, T. Andersen, and reviewers for constructive comments. This is a contribution to Baltic Zooplankton Cascades (BAZOOCA) program funded by Baltic Organizations Network for funding Science, European Economic Interest Grouping (BONUS EEIG). We received financial support from Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS), Sweden (grant numbers 2007-1105 to LJH and JT; 2006-1054 and 2008-1586 to JT), the National Science Foundation, USA (grant numbers OCE-0350834 and OCE-0623508 to JHC; OCE-0351398 and OCE-0623534 to SPC.), Stiftelsen Konung Carl XVI Gustafs 50-årsfond för vetenskap, teknik och miljö (to JT), and Birgit och Birger Wåhlströms minnesfond (to JT).
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