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Article Dans Une Revue Communications Biology Année : 2020

Cannibalism makes invasive comb jelly, Mnemiopsis leidyi, resilient to unfavourable conditions

Résumé

The proliferation of invasive marine species is often explained by a lack of predators and opportunistic life history traits. For the invasive comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi, it has remained unclear how this now widely distributed species is able to overcome long periods of low food availability, particularly in their northernmost exotic habitats in Eurasia. Based on both field and laboratory evidence, we show that adult comb jellies in the western Baltic Sea continue building up their nutrient reserves after emptying the prey field through a shift to cannibalizing their own larvae. We argue, that by creating massive late summer blooms, the population can efficiently empty the prey field, outcompete intraguild competitors, and use the bloom events to build nutrient reserves for critical periods of prey scarcity. Our finding that cannibalism makes a species with typical opportunistic traits more resilient to environmental fluctuations is important for devising more effective conservation strategies. Javidpour et al. use high-frequency field data, geochemical-isotopic analysis, and modeling of prey-predator dynamics of the comb jelly in the western Baltic Sea to show that adult comb jellies cannibalize their own larvae. This shift to cannibalism allows adults to build nutrient reserves for periods of prey scarcity and sheds light on the ability of this invasive species to thrive amidst environmental fluctuations.
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hal-03410891 , version 1 (16-12-2021)

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Jamileh Javidpour, Juan-Carlos Molinero, Eduardo Ramirez-Romero, Patrick Roberts, Thomas Larsen. Cannibalism makes invasive comb jelly, Mnemiopsis leidyi, resilient to unfavourable conditions. Communications Biology, 2020, 3 (1), ⟨10.1038/s42003-020-0940-2⟩. ⟨hal-03410891⟩
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