Lucas Brotz

Honorary Research Associate

Sea Around Us

Cnidaria Scientist, Quantitative Aquatics

PhD Zoology, UBC, 2017
MSc Oceanography, UBC, 2011
BSc Astrophysics, UBC, 2000

Contact Information


Research Interests

Jellyfish populations are increasing in numerous ecosystems around the globe. Not surprisingly, these increases are not uniform across time and space. So why are jellyfish increasing in some places and not others? What are the consequences for humans and ecosystems? And what, if anything, can we do to manage or prevent increasing jellyfish blooms?

Jellyfish population dynamics are complex, partly because of the unique life cycles of many species. Jellyfish may exist as pulsing medusae, sessile polyps, or cysts capable of resisting harsh environmental conditions. Reproductive strategies include sexual and asexual reproduction, as well as hermaphroditism. As such, jellyfish populations are influenced by a variety of anthropogenic and environmental factors at different, often cryptic, life stages.

Increasing jellyfish populations can impact humans in both negative and positive ways. Industries such as tourism, aquaculture, fishing, power generation, desalination, and shipping have all reported considerable economic losses due to jellyfish blooms. In contrast, fisheries that target jellyfish for food are expanding around the globe, and jellyfish are now a popular draw for public aquaria. As both human and jellyfish populations increase, new interactions are sure to emerge, as jellyfish get in our way and as we find new ways to exploit them.

Ironically, it appears that in some cases, humans may be responsible for the observed increases in jellyfish populations. While there is no single cause of increasing jellyfish populations, there is evidence that fishing, pollution, aquaculture, shipping, global warming, and coastal development can all create conditions that favour jellyfish over fish. Most of these links are only correlative, but the rise of jellyfish in coastal ecosystems worldwide should be cause for concern. We may need to decide now whether or not we want our children to be eating jellyfish burgers. If our behaviour doesn’t change, they might not have a choice.


  • Michael A. Bigg Award for Outstanding Student Research
  • UBC Faculty of Science Graduate Award
  • UBC Outstanding Student Initiative Award

Selected Publications:

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

Reports and Other Publications

Research Gate
Google Scholar

Selected Media Coverage

Committees and Working Groups

  • Population Modelling Working Group (2016)
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Image Library Committee (2015-present)
  • Pacific Canada Leatherback Sea Turtle Recovery Team (2011-present)
  • North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) Jellyfish Working Group (2010-present)
  • Scientific Steering Committee, Ocean Observing Systems and Ecosystem Monitoring, PICES Summer School (2013)
  • National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) Jellyfish Working Group (2009-2012)

Conference Proceedings and Seminars

  • L. Brotz (2019) Jellyfish and humans – the big picture. Q-quatics Mini-Symposium, Los Baños, Philippines (invited)
  • L. Brotz & D. Pauly (2018) The scale of jellyfish fisheries. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
  • L. Brotz (2017) Jellyfish – friend, foe, or food? Café Scientifique, Vancouver, Canada (invited).
  • L. Brotz (2017) Jellyfish – food of the future? Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Seminar Series, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (invited).
  • L. Brotz (2017) Jellyfish and humans – it’s complicated. Floating Ideas Lecture Series, Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, Sidney, Canada (invited).
  • L. Brotz (2016) Jellyfish fisheries – what’s the catch? 5th International Jellyfish Bloom Symposium, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Population Modelling Working Group (2016) Population Modelling by Examples II. Summer Simulation Multi-Conference, Society for Modelling & Simulation International, Montreal, Canada.
  • L. Brotz (2016) Jellyfish Bloom[s] – here, there, and everywhere? Presentation to the Bloom Association, Paris, France (invited).
  • L. Brotz (2016) Jellyfish fisheries of the world – past, present, and future. ICES/PICES 6th International Zooplankton Production Symposium, Bergen, Norway (invited).
  • L. Brotz (2015) Are jellyfish the seafood of the future? Research, Sustainability and Innovation in New Foods, National Research Council of Italy, EXPO2015, Milan, Italy (invited).
  • L. Brotz, M. Cisneros-Mata, A. Cisneros-Montemayor, & D. Pauly (2015) The race is on: fishing for jellyfish in Mexico and beyond. PERSEUS International Workshop on Jellyfish, Cadiz, Spain (invited).
  • L. Brotz & D. Pauly (2015) Fishing for jellyfish: what’s the catch? Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), Granada, Spain.
  • L. Brotz (2014) Jellyfish in British Columbia and Around the World. Sea Kayak Association of BC, Vancouver, Canada (invited).
  • L. Brotz & D. Pauly (2013) Jellyfish fisheries – FAO catch statistics and known unknowns. Fourth International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium, Hiroshima, Japan.
  • Schiariti, H. Mianzan, J. López, Y.-H.P. Hsieh, L. Brotz, & J. Quiñones (2013) Jellyfish fisheries in the Americas – origin, state of the art, and perspectives on new fishing grounds. Fourth International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium, Hiroshima, Japan.
  • L. Brotz, L. Gershwin, & D. Pauly (2013) Jellyfish blooms and the future of our oceans. Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, Canada (invited).
  • L. Brotz, W.W.L. Cheung, R. Watson, K. Kleisner, E. Pakhomov, P. Cury, R. Maranger, B. Campbell, & D. Pauly (2012) Anthropogenic impacts related to observed increases of jellyfish populations. PICES Annual Meeting, Hiroshima, Japan.
  • L. Brotz (2012) Jellyfish and humans – a love/hate relationship. Pacific Biological Station Seminar Series, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, Canada (invited).
  • M.C. Villanueva, L. Brotz, & D. Pauly (2011) Jellyfishes: threat to the health of marine ecosystems. Vulnerability of Coastal Ecosystems to Global Change and Extreme Events, Biarritz, France.
  • L. Brotz (2011) Changing jellyfish populations – trends in Large Marine Ecosystems. Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • L. Brotz (2010) Assessing changes in jellyfish populations – an evaluation of abundance trends in Large Marine Ecosystems. Third International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium, Mar del Plata, Argentina.
  • D. Pauly & L. Brotz (2010) Changes of jellyfish abundance: testing hypotheses at the Large Marine Ecosystem scale. Keynote, Third International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium, Mar del Plata, Argentina.
  • L. Brotz (2009) Jellyfish and humans – a slippery slope. Marine Biology Section, Nature Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada (invited).