Characterization of Jellyfish Swarm Dynamics and Underlying Processes

חוקר מוביל: פרופ' דניאל שר, אוניברסיטת חיפה

ביחד עם החוקרים: ד"ר יואב להן,פרופ' תמר לוטן, ד"ר ירון טולדו, פרופ' חזי גילדור, ד"ר אלי ביטון, ד"ר תמר גיא-חיים

בשיתוף פעולה עם המוסדות: אוניברסיטת חיפה, אוניברסיטת ת"א, האוניברסיטה העברית, חיא"ל

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Our research is focused on two main issues: 1) Mapping the time-varying distribution patterns of jellyfish swarms along the Mediterranean coast and characterizing the underlying processes; and 2) Identifying the environmental conditions leading to the demise of the bloom, testing the hypothesis that it is caused by bacterial pathogens. The activities included mapping the jellyfish distributions, Lagrangian experiments, microbiome analyses and bacterial isolation. We have made significant progress in all of these goals: i) The distribution of the jellyfish along the coast has been mapped for the summers of 2020 and 2021 from manned flights; ii) A few tens of hours of videos have been acquired from low-altitude drones, for characterizing the movement of the jellyfish compared to Lagrangian drifters, on five research cruises. iii) Samples were collected from >50 jellyfish over multiple locations, sizes and tissues. Robust methods were calibrated for 16S amplification, and an initial set of samples has been sequenced; iv) Methods have been developed for isolation of bacteria from jellyfish, with more than 80 strains currently undergoing analysis. In addition, during the project we have established a strong interdisciplinary team including not only the PIs and their laboratories but also multiple other research groups from universities and research institutes in Israel. This has been leveraged to obtain additional funding from MERCI for ship-time and the use of new technologies such as gliders and radars.

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