Human populations have been concentrated along and exploiting the coastal zones for millennia. Of regions with the highest human impacts on the oceans (Halpern et al. 2008), 6 of the top 10 have recently experienced blooms or problems with jellies. I review the time lines of human population growth and their effects on the coastal environment. I explore evidence suggesting that human activities—specifically, seafood harvest, eutrophication, hard substrate additions, transport of nonindigenous species, aquaculture, and climate change—may benefit jelly populations. Direct evidence is lacking for most of these factors; however, numerous correlations show abundant jellies in areas with warm temperatures and low forage fish populations. Jelly populations fluctuate in ∼10- and ∼20-year cycles in concert with solar and climate cycles. Global warming will provide a rising baseline against which climate cycles will cause fluctuations in jelly populations. The probable acceleration of anthropogenic effects may lead to further problems with jellies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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