The biogenic reefs formed by the alien polychaete Hydroides dianthus (Serpulidae, Annelida) favor the polyp stage of Aurelia coerulea (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa) in a coastal artificial lake.
Blooms of the moon jellyfish Aurelia coerulea frequently occur in coastal waters. The increased availability of substrates for the settlement and proliferation of polyps due to the expansion of artificial structures in coastal areas has been proposed as a possible contributing factor in jellyfish blooms. This paper investigates whether a marine artificial lake (Fenghuang Lake) provides additional substrates for A. coerulea polyps and contributes to jellyfish blooms. High densities of A. coerulea ephyrae were discovered in this lake, with a mean density of 41 individuals/m3 and a maximum measured density of 128 individuals/m3. Meanwhile, A. coerulea ephyrae were also found in the two emptying channels outside the lake, with a mean density of 13 individuals/m3. Underwater surveys revealed that dense colonies of A. coerulea polyps occurred mainly on biogenic reefs formed by a polychaete, which was identified as an invasive serpulid species Hydroides dianthus, based on the phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial COI gene sequences. Our study highlights the potential modification of habitats by the alien polychaete H. dianthus, which might provide complex benthic habits suitable for the settlement and proliferation of A. coerulea polyps and may contribute to jellyfish blooms in the marine artificial lake and nearby coastal waters.