The influence of physical forcing on abundances of Cubozoan jellyfishes
Cubozoan jellyfish, notably Chironex fleckeri and Irukandji species are infamous for their potentially lethal toxins causing many cases of severe envenomation and consequently impacting tourism. Climate change has led to an increase in sea surface temperatures and salinity, which are hypothesized to benefit cubozoan populations by allowing pole-ward range expansions. However, current knowledge on the physical factors influencing abundance and distribution of cubozoan jellyfish is limited, as they exhibit high spatial and temporal variability and are therefore difficult to survey. The aim of my Masters project is to examine the effects of physical forcing on cubozoan jellyfish, as well as to test the image and visual recognition software capability of ‘Stingercams’ and the first ‘Irukandjicam’ as reliable data collection techniques. The outcome of this research will contribute to the knowledge of their basic ecology and potentially develop innovative survey methods.