My PhD, based at the University of East Anglia, aims to quantify the role of climate change on the occurrence of jellyfish blooms in the oceans using a new database, observations and a global marine biogeochemical model. Through this I am also investigating how jellyfish interact with the rest of the plankton community. There is much circumstantial evidence that jellyfish blooms are occurring more frequently in recent years, having negative impacts on tourism, aquaculture, fishing and coastal infrastructure (such as power plants). Jellyfish bloom in warm waters, dominating the local ecosystem for short periods of time (weeks). As the oceans warm under the influence of climate change, it is expected that jellyfish abundance will increase, but this interaction is complicated and poorly understood due to multiple interactions with the environment.
I have recently returned from a three-month exchange to the University of Cape Town (Newton Fund) where I am carrying out a case study into the influence of overfishing on jellyfish abundance, in addition to climate impacts.