Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Do changing ocean conditions portend larger jellyfish populations?

Jennifer Purcell, Ph.D.
Shannon Point Marine Center

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Pacific Forum 3:00 p.m.

Pelagic cnidarians and ctenophores are voracious predators of zooplankton and ichthyoplankton throughout marine and estuarine waters. Because of their often fragile bodies and patchy distributions, few long-term records of their abundances exist. Nevertheless, several recent studies from temperate and sub-Arctic waters suggest that some jelly populations may increase as ocean temperatures rise. Other human-induced changes, such as eutrophication, commercial species depletion, jelly species introductions, and increased coastal construction, may also serve to enhance jelly populations. Most of the ecosystem effects caused by more abundant jellyfish would probably be detrimental for fisheries and other human concerns. 

Next: Coral fluorescent colors and biological function