Third International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium

13 July - 16 July 2010 Mar del Plata, Argentina Hosted by Argentinean
Association of Marine Sciences and the National Institute for Fishery
Research and Development

There is a general impression that jellyfish and other gelatinous organisms are increasing in number. Media, TV, and newspapers contribute to this impression. So are increases in jelly populations real, or is this phenomenon just a biased perception? Answering this question is a difficult task because jelly populations normally fluctuate enormously, being everywhere some years, and impossible to find in others. It is also true that occasional swarms of great density have a notorious effect on many human economic activities such as tourism, fisheries and various coastal industries.

Ten years ago the first Jellyfish bloom meeting was envisioned. Held at Gulf Shores, Alabama in January 2000, it was a response to the need to consider the ecological as well as societal aspects of jellyfish blooms. The main objective was to come together and find a unified voice that would direct new fields of research on the subject. The second International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium was held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia in June 2007, and the general message was to examine the problem on a wider scale, encouraging people to consider the use of fisheries as well as molecular techniques for jellyfish research. And presently, special sessions on gelatinous plankton can be found in general meetings like the Nice ASLO meeting in January 2009. In each of the three cases mentioned, about 60 talks and posters were presented and a special volume published.

What is our ultimate goal? To understand the dynamics of jellyfish blooms at a global scale. The third Symposium reaches us at the right time. We are facing clear examples that some jellyfish species are increasing their frequency of occurrence, expanding their geographical distributional range, being introduced, with sometimes devastating consequences on human enterprises. Mnemiopsis leidyi, the ctenophore that gained a “bad reputation” by invading the Black Sea in the 1980s is continuously expanding its range and every year it is found in new localities. Nemopilema nomurai, a giant Asian scyphozoan, undertakes inter-annual population explosions generating severe damage to the Japanese Fishing Industry in the last ten years. Even nuclear power stations occasionally need to stop their activities due to jellies that have clogged their refrigerating water intakes. And more and more examples are continuously being reported.

Within this third meeting, attention is placed on fish-jellyfish interactions, and fisheries. More than a hundred talks and posters will be presented by delegates from 34 countries. Dr. Daniel Pauly will offer an opening talk about "Changes of jellyfish abundance: testing hypotheses at the Large Marine Ecosystem scale". Dr. Jenny Purcell will run a special session on “Causes and consequences of Jellyfish Outbreaks and Aggregations” with an invited speaker Dr. Shin-ichi Uye, who will talk about “Tackling the giant jellyfish (Nemopilema nomurai) plague: cause, forecast and countermeasure. Dr. Rick Brodeur will speak about “Interactions between jellyfish and marine fish and fisheries: insights into ecosystem functioning”.

In the words of Jennifer Purcell and Dror Angel “this is an exciting time in jellyfish research”, so we expect the meeting to continue the success of previous ones and the volume to become a useful reference text. We hope to make this meeting and your visit to Argentina a memorable one.

Un saludo cordial
-- Dr. Hermes Mianzan, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP)
(Mar del Plata, ARGENTINA)