The energy density of jellyfish: Estimates from bomb-calorimetry and proximate-composition

T.K. Doyle, Jonathan Houghton, R. McDevitt, J. Davenport, G.C. Hays

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137 Citations (Scopus)


Two techniques are described to calculate energy densities for the bell, gonad and oral arm tissues of three scyphozoan jellyfish (Cyanea capillata, Rhizostoma octopus and Chrysaora hysoscella). First, bomb-calorimetry was used, a technique that is readily available and inexpensive. However, the reliability of this technique for gelatinous material is contentious. Second, further analysis involving the more labour intensive proximate-composition analysis (protein, fat and carbohydrate) was carried out on two species (C capillata and R. octopus). These proximate data were subsequently converted to energy densities. The two techniques (bomb-calorimetry and proximate-composition) gave very similar estimates of energy density. Differences in energy density were found both amongst different species and between different tissues of the same species. Mean ( +/- S.D.) energy density estimates for whole animals from bomb-calorimetry were 0.18 +/- 0.05, 0.11 +/- 0.04, and 0.10 +/- 0.03 kJ g wet mass(-1) for C. capillata, R. octopus, and C. hysoscella respectively. The implications of these low energy densities for species feeding on jellyfish are discussed. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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