Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography &
Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute

Fall 2015 Seminar Series


Robert Condon
University of North Carolina Wilmington

Monday, November 16, 2015
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Resarch Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508


Jellyfish populations fluctuate across multiple temporal and spatial scales. Globally, they have been shown to exhibit multi-decadal cycles but individual populations within regions may fluctuate enormously from year to year. Consequently the magnitude, timing and location of bloom events are often very difficult to predict, making it challenging for ecosystem models to forecast future trends. Identifying the natural and anthropogenic biotic and abiotic environmental conditions that regulate bloom dynamics is, however, essential for understanding jellyfish population ecology, for capitalizing on the ecosystem services they provide and for developing strategies for predicting and managing problematic and unnatural bloom events. In this seminar, I will provide a status update of a recent linear mixed model meta-analysis (Condon et al. 2013) examining global trends in jellyfish on all available long-term data sets from the past three centuries. Spectral and wavelet analysis comparing long-term jellyfish indices with natural and anthropogenic environmental variables further suggest 'jelly cycles' are driven by natural astronomical cycles, which mediate global heat and solar fluxes to the ocean. The implications of recent experiments on the polyp and ephyrae stages of the cnidarian life cycle, some of which were performed by 6th grade students as part of my Toward Elementary Advancement in Marine Science Program (, will be discussed in the context of mechanisms driving the 'jelly cycles' and potential linkages to global climate change.


Rob Condon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology & Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). He received his BSc from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and PhD from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in 2008. He has since held research scientist positions at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) and Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. His research interests include global jellyfish populations and their roles in biogeochemical cycles, oil spills including effects of Deepwater Horizon on planktonic food webs, and ecosystem metabolism. He also runs the TEAMS program (Toward Elementary Advancement Module in Science) designed to teach young students the process of science and to involve them in scientific research along with developing and nurturing their interest in marine science. For more information, please visit

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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