Population maintenance of the scyphozoanCyanea sp. Settled planulae and the distribution of medusae in the Niantic River, Connecticut, USA
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Scyphozoan jellyfish are seasonally conspicuous in coastal waters, but relatively little is known about the factors that control their distribution and population dynamics. Cyanea sp. is a seasonally abundant medusa in the Niantic River, Connecticut, U.S. and appears to maintain a population entirely within the estuary. To better understand the factors controlling their occurrence, we examined the temporal and spatial distribution of settled scyphistomae in relation to that of the medusae. Planula settlement patterns mirrored the presence of mature female medusae. The planulae settled primarily near the bottom. After settlement, planulacysts and polyps on the settlement plates were out competed by large barnacle and ascidian larvae, resulting in a sharp decline in cyst and polyp abundance. This stage-specific mortality may represent a population bottleneck in the life cycle of scyphozoans.