Jellyfish ecology

Ecosystem impacts of the jellyfish Aurelia labiata in Puget Sound: Insights from mesocosms, monitoring, and ecosystem modeling

Researchers will analyze the ecosystem impacts of jellyfish in Puget Sound using mesocosm experiments, monitoring, and ecosystem modeling.

Principal Investigator

Julie Keister, University of Washington, School of Oceanography

Co-Principal Investigators

Correigh Greene, NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Isaac Kaplan, NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Hem Nalini Morzaria-Luna, Long Live the Kings

Kathryn Sobocinski, Long Live the Kings


Researchers are taking a multipronged approach to study moon jelly (Aurelia labiata) aggregations in Puget Sound. Jellyfish compete for the same prey as important finfish like Pacific salmon and herring, so it is important to understand how they affect bottom-up ecological processes. The researchers are using field-based and experimental methods to measure the effects of jellyfish on biological, chemical and physical water quality characteristics as well as their distribution and abundance in the water column.

The team summarized and compiled data from field studies and experiments in order to add diet preferences and feeding rates to the Atlantis Model for Puget Sound. Having a model that can play out scenarios with possible future jellyfish abundances could help resource managers gain insight into the effect of jellyfish abundance on Puget Sound ecology and make better-informed decisions.