Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 10, pp 2219–2226 | Cite as

Seasonal patterns in size and abundance of Phyllorhiza punctata: an invasive scyphomedusa in coastal Georgia (USA)

  • Peter G. Verity
  • J. E. Purcell
  • M. E. Frischer
Original Paper


Phyllorhizapunctata, commonly called the Australian white spotted jellyfish, invaded the Caribbean in the 1960s, becoming established there and subsequently in the United States in the northern Gulf of Mexico (by 2000) and eastern Florida (2001). With the prevailing Loop Current flowing clockwise around the Gulf of Mexico and joining the Gulf Stream along eastern Florida, potential transport of P. punctata along the eastern seaboard of the USA could be facilitated. P. punctata medusae were collected in small numbers along the entire Georgia coast during May–November in 2007 and 2008. Medusa bell diameters increased both years from ca. 10 cm in May to ca. 33 cm in autumn. Specimens lacked zooxanthellae, as reported for medusae in the northern Gulf of Mexico and Florida. It is possible that the P. punctata medusae observed were transported from established populations to the south; however, whether or not this species is established along the Georgia coast has yet to be determined.


Gulf Stream Indian River Lagoon Sound Station Gelatinous Zooplankton South Atlantic Bight 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by US National Science Foundation grants OCE-0545312, OCE-0825999, OCE-1031263 and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. A. Boyette drafted the figures.


  1. Abed-Navandi D, Kikinger R (2007) First record of the tropical scyphomedusa P. punctata von Lendenfeld, 1884 (Cnidaria: Rhizostomeae) in the central Mediterranean Sea. Aquat Inv 2:391–394. doi: 10.3391/ai.2007.2.4.7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aretxabaleta A, Nelson JR, Blanton JO, Seim HE, Werner FE, Bane JM, Weisberg R (2006) Cold event in the south Atlantic bight during summer of 2003: anomalous hydrographic and atmospheric conditions. J Geophys Res 111:C06007. doi: 10.1029/2005JC00310 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanton BO, Aretxabaleta AL, Werner FE, Seim H (2003) Monthly climatology of the continental shelf waters of the south Atlantic bight. J Geophys Res 108:3264. doi: 10.1029/2002JC001609 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boero F, Bouillon J, Gravili C, Miglietta MP, Parsons T, Piraino S (2008) Gelatinous plankton: irregularities rule the world (sometimes). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 356:299–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boero F, Putti M, Trainito E, Prontera E, Piraino S, Shiganova T (2009) Recent changes in western Mediterranean Sea biodiversity: the establishment of M. leidyi (Ctenophora) and the arrival of P. punctata (Cnidaria). Aquat Inv 4:675–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolton TF, Graham WM (2004) Morphological variation among populations of an invasive jellyfish. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 278:125–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brodeur RD, Sugisaki H, Hunt GLJ (2002) Increases in jellyfish biomass in the Bering Sea: implications for the ecosystem. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 233:89–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bronk D, Frischer M (2010) Peter Verity, 1953–2009. Limnol Oceanog Bull 19:22–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlton JT, Geller JB (1993) Ecological roulette: the global transport of nonindigenous marine organisms. Science 261:78–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cutress CE (1971) Phyllorhiza in the tropical Atlantic. Proc Assoc Isl Marine Lab Caribb 9:14Google Scholar
  11. Dame R, Alber M, Allen D, Mallin M, Montague C, Lewitus A, Chalmers A, Gardner R, Gilman C, Kjerfve B, Pickney J, Smith N (2000) Estuaries of the south Atlantic coast of North America: their geographic signatures. Estuaries 23:793–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Galil BS, Shoval L, Goren M (2009) P. punctata von Lendenfeld, 1884 (Scyphozoa: Rhizostomeae: Mastigiidae) reappeared off the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Aquat Inv 4:481–483. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Garcia JR (1990) Population dynamics and production of P. punctata (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) in Laguna Joyuda, Puerto Rico. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 64:243–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. GCRCOSPOSTR (2010) Georgia coastal research council oil spill physical oceanography summit technical report. June 9, 2010, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Accessed 20 Jan 2011.
  15. Graham WM, Bayha KM (2007) 14 Biological invasions by marine jellyfish. In: Nentwig W (ed) Ecological studies, vol 193. Biological invasions. Verlag, Berlin, pp 240–255Google Scholar
  16. Graham WM, Martin DL, Felder DL, Asper VL, Perry HM (2003) Ecological and economic implications of a tropical jellyfish invader in the Gulf of Mexico. Biol Invasions 5:53–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gyory J, Rowe E, Mariano AJ, Ryan EH (2001) The Florida current. Ocean surface currents. Accessed 25 Oct 2010
  18. Haddad MA, Nogueira M Jr (2006) Reappearance and seasonality of P. punctata von Lendenfeld (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa, Rhizostomeae) medusae in southern Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 23:824–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hong J, He-Qin C, Hai-Gen X, Arreguin-Sanchez F, Zetina-Rejon MJ, Del Monte Luna P, Le Quesne WJF (2008) Trophic controls of jellyfish blooms and links with fisheries in the East China Sea. Ecol Model 212:492–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kideys AE (1994) Recent dramatic change in the Black Sea ecosystem: the reason for the sharp decline in Turkish anchovy fisheries. J Mar Syst 5:171–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kramp PL (1961) Synopsis of the medusae of the world. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 40:1–469Google Scholar
  22. Larson RJ, Arneson CA (1990) Two medusae new to the coast of California: C. marsupialis (Linnaeus, 1758), a cubomedusa and P. punctata von Lendenfeld, 1884: a rhizostome scyphomedusa. Bull S Calif Acad Sci 89:130–136Google Scholar
  23. Lee TN, Yoder JA, Atkinson LP (1991) Gulf Stream frontal eddy influence on productivity of the southeast US continental Shelf. J Geophys Res 91(C12):22191–22205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Link JS, Ford MD (2006) Widespread and persistent increase of Ctenophora in the continental shelf ecosystem off NE USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 320:153–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lohrenz SE, Verity PG (2005) Regional oceanography: Southeastern United States and Gulf of Mexico (2, W). In: Robinson AR, Brink KH (eds) The Sea, vol 14A. The global coastal ocean: interdisciplinary regional studies and syntheses. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 169–223Google Scholar
  26. Mayer AG (1910) Medusae of the World, vol III. The Scyphomedusae. Carnegie Institution, Washington, DC, pp 499–735Google Scholar
  27. NAS (2008) Nonindigenous aquatic species. US Geological Survey, US Department of the Interior. Accessed 22 Sep 2008 and 20 Oct 2010
  28. NDBC (2010) National Data Buoy Center. Accessed 19 Dec 2010
  29. NOAA (2009) Distances between United States Ports. National oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA), Washington, DC, pp 4–51Google Scholar
  30. Ocaña-Luna A, Sánchez-Ramírez M, Aguilar-Durán R (2010) First record of P. punctata von Lendenfeld, 1884 (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa, Mastigiidae) in Mexico. Aquat Inv 5(Suppl 1):S79–S84. doi: 10.3391/ai.2010.5.S1.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Parsons TR, Lalli CM (2002) Jellyfish population explosions: revisiting a hypothesis of possible causes. La Mer 40:111–121Google Scholar
  32. Pitt KA, Kingsford MJ, Rissik D, Koop K (2007) Jellyfish modify the response of planktonic assemblages to nutrient pulses. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 351:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Purcell JE (2005) Climate effects on formation of jellyfish and ctenophore blooms: a review. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 85:461–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Purcell JE, Arai MN (2001) Interactions of pelagic cnidarians and ctenophores with fish: a review. Hydrobiologia 451:27–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Purcell JE, Shiganova TA, Decker MB, Houde ED (2001) The ctenophore Mnemiopsis in native and exotic habitats: US estuaries versus the Black Sea basin. Hydrobiologia 451:145–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Purcell JE, Uye S-I, Lo W-T (2007) Anthropogenic causes of jellyfish blooms and direct consequences for humans: a review. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:153–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Purcell JE, Atienza D, Fuentes V, Olariaga A, Tilves U, Colahan C, Gili J-M (2011) Temperature effects on asexual reproduction rates of scyphozoan polyps from the NW Mediterranean Sea. Hydrobiologia (submitted)Google Scholar
  38. Rippingale RJ, Kelly SJ (1995) Reproduction and survival of P. punctata (Cnidaria: Rhizostomeae) in a seasonally fluctuating salinity regime in western Australia. Mar Freshw Res 46:1145–1151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shiganova TA, Bulgakova YV (2000) Effects of gelatinous plankton on Black Sea and Sea of Azov fish and their food resources. ICES J Mar Sci 57:641–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. SJRWMD (St. Johns River Water Management district) (2010) Indian river water quality data. Accessed 2 Jan 2011
  41. Tester PA, Steidinger KA (1997) G. breve red tide blooms: initiation, transport, and consequences of surface circulation. Limnol Oceanogr 42:1039–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Verity PG, Lee TN, Yoder JA, Paffenhofer G-A, Blanton JO, Alexander CR (1993) Outer shelf processes. In: Menzel DW (ed) Ocean processes: US southeast continental shelf. US Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Oak Ridge, pp 45–74Google Scholar
  43. Verity PG, Blanton JO, Amft J, Barans JC, Knott D, Stender B, Wenner E (1998) Influences of physical oceanographic processes on chlorophyll and particle distributions in coastal and estuarine waters of the south Atlantic bight. J Mar Res 56:681–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. von Lendenfeld R (1884) The scyphomedusae of the southern hemisphere. Proc Linnean Soc N S W 9:258–306Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter G. Verity
    • 1
  • J. E. Purcell
    • 2
  • M. E. Frischer
    • 1
  1. 1.Skidaway Institute of OceanographySavannahUSA
  2. 2.Western Washington UniversityAnacortesUSA

Personalised recommendations