Clara Fannjiang, T. Aran Mooney, Seth Cones, David Mann, K. Alex Shorter, and Kakani Katija
Zooplankton occupy critical roles in marine ecosystems, yet their fine-scale behavior remains poorly understood due to the difficulty of studying individuals in situ. Here we combine biologging with supervised machine learning (ML) to demonstrate a pipeline for studying in situ behavior of larger zooplankton such as jellyfish. We deployed the ITAG, a biologging package with high-resolution motion sensors designed for soft-bodied invertebrates, on 8 Chrysaora fuscescens in Monterey Bay, using the tether method for retrieval. Using simultaneous video footage of the tagged jellyfish, we developed ML methods to 1) identify periods of tag data corrupted by the tether method, which may have compromised prior research findings, and 2) classify jellyfish behaviors. Our tools yield characterizations of fine-scale jellyfish activity and orientation over long durations, and provide evidence that developing behavioral classifiers on in situ rather than laboratory data is essential.