Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 511–526 | Cite as

Relationships of interannual variability in SST and phytoplankton blooms with giant jellyfish (Nemopilema nomurai) outbreaks in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea

  • Yongjiu Xu
  • Joji IshizakaEmail author
  • Hisashi Yamaguchi
  • Eko Siswanto
  • Shengqiang Wang
Original Article


Giant jellyfish (Nemopilema nomurai) outbreaks in relation to satellite sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll-a concentrations (Chl-a) were investigated in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea (YECS) from 1998 to 2010. Temperature, eutrophication, and match–mismatch hypotheses were examined to explain long-term increases and recent reductions of N. nomurai outbreaks. We focused on the timing of SST reaching 15 °C, a critical temperature enabling polyps to induce strobilation and enabling released ephyra to grow. We analyzed the relationship of the timing with interannual variability of SST, Chl-a, and the timing of phytoplankton blooms. Different environmental characteristics among pre-jellyfish years (1998–2001), jellyfish years (2002–2007, 2009), and non-jellyfish years (2008, 2010) were assessed on this basis. The SST during late spring and early summer increased significantly from 1985 to 2007. This indicated that high SST is beneficial to the long-term increases in jellyfish outbreaks. SST was significantly lower in non-jellyfish years than in jellyfish years, suggesting that low SST might reduce the proliferation of N. nomurai. We identified three (winter, spring, and summer) major phytoplankton bloom regions and one summer decline region. Both Chl-a during non-blooming periods and the peak increased significantly from 1998 to 2010 in most of the YECS. This result indicates that eutrophication is beneficial to the long-term increases in jellyfish outbreaks. Timing of phytoplankton blooms varied interannually and spatially, and their match and mismatch to the timing of SST reaching 15 °C did not correspond to long-term increases in N. nomurai outbreaks and the recent absence.


Interannual variability SST Satellite chlorophyll Jellyfish Outbreak 



We thank NASA/DAAC for providing AVHRR, SeaWiFS, and MODIS data. We also thank Professor Shin-ichi Uye for providing valuable information about the ecology and biology of giant jellyfish. We thank Professor Egil Sakshaug for scientific and writing support. Two anonymous reviewers and the editor also provided valuable comments on the manuscript. This work was funded by the Fisheries Agency of Japan as the “International Cooperative Study of Giant Jellyfish.”

Supplementary material

10872_2013_189_MOESM1_ESM.doc (120 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 120 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yongjiu Xu
    • 1
  • Joji Ishizaka
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hisashi Yamaguchi
    • 3
  • Eko Siswanto
    • 4
  • Shengqiang Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental StudiesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research CenterNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Earth Observation Research Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration AgencyTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokosukaJapan

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