Polyps for dinner: Can sea slugs combat jellyfish blooms?

8. 9. 2021

Live Agnethe Sørlundsengen Haugen, a master student from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) just started her experimental trials on the predation pressure of sea slugs on the polyp stages of the moon jellyfish Aurelia aurita. While sea slugs are described as one of the few groups that are known to feed on jellyfish polyps, not much is known about the feeding rates and preferences of particular species. Are they so dedicated to polyps that they consume large quantities and could act as natural bloom controllers of jellyfish in coastal ecosystems? This is the question Live wants to address in her studies. To get the experiments started, she first needed to persuade female Aurelia medusae to release their baby planulae, get them settled on artificial substrate and collect the beautiful sea slug Catriona aurantia from Trondheimsfjorden. Since this is all settled now: The buffet is open for dine in, Catriona!