Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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Title: The acclimation process between fish and anemones in Monterey Bay
Student Author(s): Miller, Stephen E.
Faculty Advisor(s): Baxter, Chuck
Pages: 31
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1989
Keywords: nearshore fishes
Abstract: Although there have been many studies on the relationships between certain fish and sea anemones in the tropics, very little is known about the fish-anemone interactions in the colder waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean. After a seven week investigation in Monterey Bay, I found that none of the fish observed will acclimate to the tentacles of either of the intertidal sea anemones Anthopleura xanthogrammica or Anthopleura elegantissima, although Clinocottus analis will rest on the base or column of either. I also found that Oxylebius pictus, as well as other rock dwelling fish, will acclimate to Corynactis californica. The acclimation process takes approximately 3-5 days, depending on the amount of contact between the acclimating fish and the anemones, and the amount of previous contacts with the anemones by other fish. There are two mechanisms involved in the acclimation process. First, through repeated contact, the fish picks up mucus from the anemones and adds its to its own mucus layer. This causes each anemeone to recongize the acclimated fish as a part of itself and prevents the fish from stimulating the anemone's chemoreceptors for nematocyst discharge. Secondly, the anemones become habituated to contact by the fish.