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Transportation of organic matter to the sea floor by carrion falls of the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai in the Sea of Japan
Yamamoto, J.; Hirose, M.; Ohtani, T.; Sugimoto, K.; Hirase, K.; Shimamoto, N.; Shimura, T.; Honda, N.; Fujimori, Y.; Mukai, T. (2008). Transportation of organic matter to the sea floor by carrion falls of the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai in the Sea of Japan. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(3): 311-317. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-007-0807-9
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Yamamoto, J.
  • Hirose, M.
  • Ohtani, T.
  • Sugimoto, K.
  • Hirase, K.
  • Shimamoto, N.
  • Shimura, T.
  • Honda, N.
  • Fujimori, Y.
  • Mukai, T.

Abstract
    The fate of the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai after death was examined in the southwest Sea of Japan. The density of dead jellyfish was greater than that of live animals. The dead animals are heavier than the Japan Sea Proper Water which occurs deeper than 200 m, suggesting that dead jellyfish sink to the sea floor. The sea floor survey, conducted with a towed video tape recorder (VTR) monitoring system between mid September and mid October, observed a total of 138 jellyfish during 28 of 29 operations. The density of carrion ranged between 0.2 and 5.1 individuals/1,000 m2 (mean ± SE = 1.1 ± 0.2). Ophiuroids occurred abundantly at 23 jellyfish carcasses and a sea anemone was observed attached to five carcasses. The VTR surveys confirmed that carrion sinks to the sea floor not only during the winter, the normal end of life for medusae, but also during the fall. A trap survey baited with medusae was also employed, and four different species were sampled with the traps: the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), a shrimp (Pandalopsis japonica), the ivory shell (Buccinum striatissimum) and an ophiuroid (Ophiura sarsii). Much of the trap bait remained (49–68% weight-mean = 60.3%) during the 23 h soak-time, and the reduction in weight was greater than that observed by bacterial decomposition, suggesting benthic animals consume dead organisms. The present study indicates that dead N. nomurai sink to the sea floor continuously and were subsequently consumed by benthic scavengers.

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