Research project

Copepod sex ratio dynamics: The role of predators and food

Project overview

The influence of copepod prey size and behaviour upon Aurelia aurita medusae predation rates was investigated. There was no significant difference in predation rates across a 4-fold (250 to 987 mm) prey size range (heat-killed developmental stages of Acartia tonsa). Any behavioural differences (swimming speed, escape response) across live A. tonsa developmental stages had no significant effect upon their susceptibility to predation. In addition, Aurelia aurita ingestion rates were similar upon adult males and females of a copepod that exhibit similar swimming speeds (A. tonsa), as well as upon both adult sexes of a copepod with contrasting swimming behaviour (Oithona similis). An encounter model indicated that the size and speed of Aurelia aurita overwhelmed the differences in size and swimming speeds of these prey by largely determining encounter rates. However, overall, heat-killing prey lead to significantly higher predation rates than those upon live prey. This may be attributed to the escape response of live prey, which is not included in the encounter model. The capture efficiency of Aurelia aurita was low (<9%), but high ingestion rates may be achieved through the large encounter rates of this cruising predator.


Lead researcher

Dr Cathy Lucas

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • The role of gelatinous zooplankton in ecosystem structure and function.
  • Causes and consequences of jellyfish blooms.
  • Jellyfish and ecosystem servives in the coastal zone.
Connect with Cathy

Research outputs

Tania FitzGeorge-Balfour, Andrew Hirst, Cathy H. Lucas & Jamie Craggs, 2014, Journal of Plankton Research, 36(1), 77-90
Type: article
Tania FitzGeorge-Balfour, Andrew G. Hirst, C.H. Lucas, Jamie Craggs, Emma J. Whelan & S. Mombrikotb, 2013, Marine Biology, 160(4), 793-804
Type: article