NCEAS Project 12479

Global expansion of jellyfish blooms: Magnitude, causes and consequences

  • Robert H. Condon
  • Carlos M. Duarte
  • William M. Graham

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group28th January—1st February 2010Participant List  
Working Group5th—10th May 2010Participant List  
Working Group17th—22nd November 2010Participant List  
Working Group28th October—2nd November 2011Participant List  
Working Group20th—24th February 2012Participant List  

Jellyfish are an important and often conspicuous component of oceanic food webs. During the past several decades, dramatic spatial increases and temporal shifts in jellyfish distributions have been reported around the world. Undoubtedly there are associated ecological ramifications such as food web and biogeochemical pathway alterations. Moreover, socio-economic impacts include damage to fisheries, industry and tourism. However, reports have remained local in scope, and scientists agree that a composite understanding of the extent of the problem is still lacking. The bottle-neck is the lack of synthetic analyses across marine ecosystems, due to the present fragmentation of data sources. This proposal will provide a global synthesis of reports of jellyfish abundance to achieve four main objectives: (1) to examine the hypothesis of a global expansion of jellyfish blooms, and to explore the possible drivers for this expansion; (2) to examine the effects of jellyfish blooms on the ecosystem, addressing in particular, carbon cycling, and food webs; (3) to identify current and future consequences of jellyfish blooms for tourism, industry and fisheries, including ecosystem-based management on regional and global scales; and (4) to notify the public at large of the project results. The centerpiece of this project will be a scientifically coordinated global jellyfish and environmental database based on already identified datasets from coastal, estuarine and open-ocean regions. This is a two year project and meetings will be a combination of plenary and specific group level sessions involving data acquisition and statistical analyses, global synthesis of trajectory maps of regional jellyfish blooms, generation of conceptual diagrams of the role of jellyfish in biogeochemical cycles and food webs, and discussions relating to the socio-economic ramifications of jellyfish blooms. Discussions surrounding the framework of the database and identifying deficiencies and additional data requirements will take place in the first meeting. The deliverable products addressed in the proposal include: (1) at least six group publications submitted to major scientific journals in addition to several articles in the popular literature, (2) several new process-oriented proposals to be submitted to US and international funding bodies based on hypotheses generated from the database, (3) multi-lingual website and blog housed on the NCEAS network including the interactive jellyfish database, and educational information on jellyfish blooms, (4) two public seminars and discussion forums, hosted in Spain and another one facilitated by NCEAS coinciding with one of the meetings, (5) white papers designed for funding agencies and environmental managers identifying research priorities and protocols for monitoring jellyfish blooms, and (6) a book detailing the biogeochemical, ecological and societal aspects of jellyfish blooms.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Data Set Burrell, Victor G. 2011. Chesapeake Bay, York River and Pamunkey River Ctenophore study 1968-1969. (Online version)
Data Set Coleman, Noel. 2011. Australian jellyfish fishery development and assessment data, 2000-2002. (Online version)
Data Set Condon, Robert H.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Lucas, Cathy H.; Graham, William M.; Robinson, Kelly L. 2011. Norwegian fjord jellyfish literature, 1993-2003. (Online version)
Data Set Condon, Robert H. 2011. VIMS jellyfish survey, Chesapeake Bay, 2003-2006. (Online version)
Journal Article Condon, Robert H.; Graham, William M.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Pitt, Kylie A.; Lucas, Cathy H.; Haddock, Steven H.D.; Rakow Sutherland, Kelly C.; Robinson, Kelly L.; Dawson, Michael N.; Decker, Mary Beth; Mills, Claudia E.; Purcell, Jennifer E.; Malej, Alenka; Mianzan, Hermes W.; Uye, Shin-ichi; Gelcich, Stefan; Madin, Laurence P. 2012. Questioning the rise of gelatinous zooplankton in the world's oceans. BioScience. Vol: 62(2). Pages 160-169. (Online version)
Journal Article Condon, Robert H.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Pitt, Kylie A.; Robinson, Kelly L.; Lucas, Cathy H.; Sutherland, Kelly R.; Mianzan, Hermes W.; Bogeberg, Molly; Purcell, Jennifer E.; Decker, Mary Beth; Uye, Shin-ichi; Madin, Laurence P.; Brodeur, Richard; Haddock, Steven H.D.; Malej, Alenka; Parry, Gregory D.; Eriksen, Elena; Quiñones, Javier; Acha, Marcelo; Harvey, Michel; Arthur, James M.; Graham, William M. 2012. Recurrent jellyfish blooms are a consequence of global oscillations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol: 110(3). Pages 1000-1005. (Online version)
Journal Article Costello, J. H.; Bayha, K. M.; Mianzan, Hermes W.; Shiganova, T. A.; Purcell, Jennifer E. 2012. Transitions of Mnemiopsis leidyi (Ctenophora: Lobata) from a native to an exotic species: A review. Hydrobiologia. Vol: 690. Pages 21-46. (Online version)
Journal Article Duarte, Carlos M.; Pitt, Kylie A.; Lucas, Cathy H.; Purcell, Jennifer E.; Uye, Shin-ichi; Robinson, Kelly L.; Brotz, Lucas; Decker, Mary Beth; Rakow Sutherland, Kelly C.; Malej, Alenka; Madin, Laurence P.; Mianzan, Hermes W.; Gili, Josep-Maria; Fuentes, Verónica; Atienza, Dacha; Pagés, Francesc; Breitburg, Denise L.; Malek, Jennafer; Graham, William M. 2012. Is global ocean sprawl a cause of jellyfish blooms?. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Data Set Franz, H. G.; van der Veer, H. W.; Daan, R.; van der Bann, S. M.; Miller, R. J. 2011. Dutch coastal waters jellyfish literature, 1961- 1985. (Online version)
Data Set Gibbons, Mark. 2011. Gibbons, pelagic recruit surveys, South Africa, 1988-1997. (Online version)
Data Set Gonzalez, Humberto E. 2011. Humboldt Current survey, Concepción, Chile,2002-2009. (Online version)
Data Set Haddock, Steven H.D. 2011. MBARI ROV video records, 1989-2008. (Online version)
Data Set Henschke, Natasha; Suthers, Iain; Baird, Mark E.; Everett, Jason. 2011. Salp counts, Tasman Sea off south eastern NSW (Australia), 2008. (Online version)
Data Set Hudson, Russell J.; Walker, Terence I. 2011. Distribution of the jellyfish Catostylus mosaicus in Port Phillip Bay and Westernport, 1997-1999. (Online version)
Data Set Klein, Carissa J. 2011. Hydromedusa community composition in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, 2007-2010. (Online version)
Data Set Lehtiniemi, Maiju. 2011. EcoJel jellyfish survey of the Irish Sea, 2003-2005. (Online version)
Data Set Lehtiniemi, Maiju. 2011. Northern Baltic Sea comb jellies, 2007-2010. (Online version)
Data Set Licandro, Priscilla. 2010. CPR (continuous plankton recorder) survey. (Online version)
Journal Article Lucas, Cathy H.; Pitt, Kylie A.; Purcell, Jennifer E.; Lebrato, Mario; Condon, Robert H. 2011. What's in a jellyfish? Proximate and elemental composition and biometric relationships for use in biogeochemical studies. Ecology. Vol: 92(8). Pages 1704-1704. (Online version)
Data Set Madin, Laurence P. 2011. Madin bluewater dive ISSP cruise Oct. 2007 - Celebes' sea jellyfishgroup. (Online version)
Data Set Madin, Laurence P. 2011. Madin Phoenix Islands Protected Area blue water diving - 2008. (Online version)
Data Set Malej, Alenka. 2011. 200 year Adriatic Sea jellyfish data, 1790-2009. (Online version)
Data Set Milos, Carna. 2011. Aurelia, rhizostoma & pelagia in the Mediterranean: 2004-2006. (Online version)
Data Set Parry, Gregory D. 2010. Catostylus mosaicus Port Phillip Bay Australia 1990-2010. (Online version)
Data Set Purcell, Jennifer E. 2010. Chesapeake Chrysaora Purcell 1987-2005. (Online version)
Data Set Rissik, David. 2010. Catostylus mosaicus, Southeast Queensland, Australia, 2002-2010. (Online version)
Presentations Robinson, Kelly L. 2012. ASLO Ocean Sciences 2012 Poster (Title not provided). ALSO Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, 20-24 February2012.
Data Set Sullivan-Watts, Barbara K. 2011. Narrangansett Bay, Rhode Island, ctenophore and hydrozoa data, 2001-2010. (Online version)