Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Cathy Lucas

BSc, PhD

Primary position:
Associate Professor in Marine Biology


The University of Southampton
Dr Cathy Lucas's photo

BSc (Hons) Zoology, Swansea University (1988)
PhD Marine biology, University of Southampton (1993)
Teaching Fellow, University of Southampton (1993)
Post-doctoral fellowship, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, USA (1994)
Post-doctoral research fellow (1995-2002)
Temporary Lecturer, University of Southampton (2002 - 2004)
Lecturer, University of Southampton (2005 - present)


The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


Blackett, Michael, Lucas, C.H., Harmer, R.A. and Licandro, P. (2015) Population ecology of Muggiaea atlantica (Cnidaria, Siphonophora) in the Western English Channel. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 535, 129-144. (doi:10.3354/meps11423).
Dawson, Michael N, Cieciel, Kristin, Decker, Mary Beth, Hays, Graeme C., Lucas, Cathy H. and Pitt, Kylie A. (2015) Population-level perspectives on global change: genetic and demographic analyses indicate various scales, timing, and causes of scyphozoan jellyfish blooms. Biological Invasions, 17, (3), 851-867. (doi:10.1007/s10530-014-0732-z).
Lucas, Cathy H. and Horton, Alice A. (2014) Short-term effects of the heavy metals, Silver and copper, on polyps of the common jellyfish, Aurelia aurita. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 461, 154-161. (doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2014.08.003).
Blackett, Michael, Licandro, Priscilla, Coombs, Steve H. and Lucas, Cathy H. (2014) Long-term variability of the siphonophores Muggiaea atlantica and M. kochi in the Western English Channel. Progress In Oceanography, 128, 1-14. (doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.07.004).
Lucas, Cathy H., Jones, Daniel O.B., Hollyhead, Catherine J., Condon, Robert H., Duarte, Carlos M., Graham, William M., Robinson, Kelly L., Pitt, Kylie A., Schildhauer, Mark and Regetz, Jim (2014) Gelatinous zooplankton biomass in the global oceans: geographic variation and environmental drivers. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23, (7), 701-714. (doi:10.1111/geb.12169).
FitzGeorge-Balfour, Tania, Hirst, Andrew and Lucas, Cathy H. et al. (2014) Influence of copepod size and behaviour on vulnerability to predation by the scyphomedusa Aurelia aurita. Journal of Plankton Research, 36, (1), 77-90. (doi:10.1093/plankt/fbt077).
MacKenzie, K.M., Longmore, C., Preece, C., Lucas, C.H. and Trueman, C.N. (2014) Testing the long-term stability of marine isoscapes in shelf seas using jellyfish tissues. Biogeochemistry, 121, (2), 441-454. (doi:10.1007/s10533-014-0011-1).
Condon, R.H., Lucas, C.H., Pitt, K.A. and Uye, S.I. (2014) Jellyfish blooms and ecological interactions (Introduction to special section). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 510, 109-110. (doi:10.3354/meps10993).
Pitt, Kylie A, Duarte, Carlos M, Lucas, Cathy H., Sutherland, Kelly R, Condon, Robert H, Mianzan, Hermes, Purcell, Jennifer E, Robinson, Kelly L and Uye, Shin-ichi (2013) Jellyfish Body Plans Provide Allometric Advantages beyond Low Carbon Content. PLoS ONE, 8, (8), e72683. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072683).
de Paula, Wilson B.M., Lucas, Cathy H., Agip, Ahmed-Noor A., Vizcay-Barrena, Gema and Allen, John F. (2013) Energy, ageing, fidelity and sex: oocyte mitochondrial DNA as a protected genetic template. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 368, (1622), 20120263. (doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0263).
FitzGeorge-Balfour, Tania, Hirst, Andrew G., Lucas, C.H., Craggs, Jamie, Whelan, Emma J. and Mombrikotb, S. (2013) Estimating digestion time in gelatinous predators - a methodological comparison with the scyphomedusa Aurelia aurita. Marine Biology, 160, (4), 793-804. (doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2134-z).
Duarte, Carlos M., Pitt, Kylie A. and Lucas, C.H. et al. (2013) Is global ocean sprawl a cause of jellyfish blooms? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11, 91-97. (doi:10.1890/110246).
Condon, R.H., Duarte, C.M., Pitt, K.A., Robinson, K.L., Lucas, C.H., Sutherland, K.R., Mianzan, H.W., Bogeberg, M., Purcell, J.E., Decker, M.B., Uye, S.-i., Madin, L.P., Brodeur, R.D., Haddock, S.H.D., Malej, A., Parry, G.D., Eriksen, E., Quinones, J., Acha, M., Harvey, M., Arthur, J.M. and Graham, W.M. (2013) Recurrent jellyfish blooms are a consequence of global oscillations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, (3), 1000-1005. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1210920110).
de Paula, Wilson B.M., Agip, Ahmed-Noor A., Missirlis, Fanis, Ashworth, Rachel, Vizcay-Barrena, Gemma, Lucas, Cathy H. and Allen, John F (2013) Female and male gamete mitochondria are distinct and complementary in transcription, structure, and genome function. Genome Biology and Evolution, 5, (10), 1969-1977. (doi:10.1093/gbe/evt147).
Webster, Clare N. and Lucas, Cathy H. (2012) The effects of food and temperature on settlement of Aurelia aurita planula larvae and subsequent somatic growth. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 436-437, 50-55. (doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2012.08.014).
Condon, Robert H, Graham, William M, Duarte, Carlos M, Pitt, Kylie A, Lucas, Cathy H., Haddock, Steven H, Sutherland, Kelly R, Robinson, Kelly L, Dawson, Michael N, Decker, Mary Beth, Mills, Claudia E, Purcell, Jennifer E, Malej, Alenka, Mianzan, Hermes, Uye, Shin-Ichi, Gelcich, Stefan and Madin, Laurence (2012) Questioning the rise of gelatinous zooplankton in the World's oceans. BioScience, 62, (2), 160-169. (doi:10.1525/bio.2012.62.2.9).
Lucas, Cathy H., Graham, William M. and Widmer, Chad (2012) Jellyfish Life Histories: Role of Polyps in Forming and Maintaining Scyphomedusa Populations. Advances in Marine Biology, 63, 133-196. (doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-394282-1.00003-X).
Lucas, C.H., Pitt, K.A., Purcell, J.E., Lebrato, M and Condon, R.H. (2011) What's in a jellyfish? Proximate and elemental composition and biometric relationships for use in biogeochemical studies. Ecology, 92, (8), 1704. (doi:10.1890/11-0302.1).
Lucas, Cathy H. and Reed, Adam J. (2009) Gonad morphology and gametogenesis in the deep-sea jellyfish Atolla wyvillei and Periphylla periphylla (Scyphozoa: Coronatae) collected from Cape Hatteras and the Gulf of Mexico. [in special issue: In Honour of Sir Frederick Stratten Russell, FRS] Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 90, (6), 1095-1104. (doi:10.1017/S0025315409000824).
Lucas, Cathy H. (2009) Biochemical composition of the mesopelagic coronate jellyfish Periphylla periphylla from the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 89, (1), 77-81. (doi:10.1017/S0025315408002804).
Friend, P.L., Lucas, C.H., Holligan, P.M. and Collins, M.B. (2008) Microalgal mediation of ripple mobility. Geobiology, 6, (1), 70-82. (doi:10.1111/j.1472-4669.2007.00108.x).
Holeton, C.L., Nedelec, F., Sanders, R., Brown, L., Moore, C.M., Stevens, D.P., Heywood, K.J., Statham, P.J. and Lucas, C.H. (2006) Physiological state of phytoplankton communities in the southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, as measured by fast repetition rate fluorometry. Polar Biology, 29, (1), 44-52. (doi:10.1007/s00300-005-0028-y).
Neumeier, U., Lucas, C.H. and Collins, M. (2006) Erodibility and erosion patterns of mudflat sediments investigated using an annular flume. Aquatic Ecology, 40, (4), 543-554. (doi:10.1007/s10452-004-0189-8).
Friend, P.L., Lucas, C.H. and Rossington, S.K (2005) Day-night variation of cohesive sediment stability. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 64, (2-3), 407-418. (doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2005.03.006).
Smythe-Wright, D., Boswell, S.M., Lucas, C.H., New, A.L. and Varney, M.S. (2005) Halocarbon and dimethyl sulphide production around the Mascarene Plateau. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A, 363, (1826), 169-185. (doi:10.1098/rsta.2004.1485).
Widdows, J., Blauw, A., Heip, C.H.R., Herman, P.M.J., Lucas, C.H., Middelburg, J.J., Schmidt, S., Brinsley, M.D., Twisk, F. and Verbeek, H. (2004) Role of physical and biological processes in sediment dynamics of a tidal flat in Westerschelde Estuary, SW Netherlands. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 274, 41-56. (doi:10.3354/meps274041).
Brown, Louise, Sanders, Richard, Savidge, Graham and Lucas, Cathy H. (2003) The uptake of silica during the spring bloom in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. Limnology and Oceanography, 48, (5), 1831-1845.
Steyaert, M., Vanaverbeke, J., Vanreusel, A., Barranguet, C., Lucas, C. and Vincx, M. (2003) The importance of fine-scale, vertical profiles in characterising nematode community structure. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 58, (2), 353-366. (doi:10.1016/S0272-7714(03)00086-6).
Lucas, C.H. (2003) Observations of resuspended diatoms in the turbid tidal edge. Journal of Sea Research, 50, (4), 301-308. (doi:10.1016/j.seares.2003.04.001).
Lucas, Cathy H., Banham, Clare and Holligan, Patrick M. (2001) Benthic-pelagic exchange of microalgae at a tidal flat. 2: taxonomic analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 212, 39-52. (doi:10.3354/meps212039).
Widdows, J., Brinsley, M.D., Salkeld, P.N. and Lucas, C.H. (2001) Influence of biota on spatial and temporal variation in sediment erodability and material flux on a tidal flat (Westerschelde, The Netherlands). Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 194, 23-27. (doi:10.3354/meps194203).
Herman, P.M.J., Middelburg, J.J., Widdows, J., Lucas, C.H. and Heip, C.H.R. (2000) Stable isotopes as trophic tracers: combining field sampling and manipulative labelling of food resources for macrobenthos. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 204, 79-92. (doi:10.3354/meps204079).
Lucas, C.H., Widdows, J., Brinsley, M.D., Salkeld, P.N. and Herman, P.M.J. (2000) Benthic-pelagic exchange of microalgae at a tidal flat: 1. Pigment analysis. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 196, 59-73.


Pitt, Kylie A. and Lucas, Cathy H. (eds.) (2014) Jellyfish blooms, Dordrecht, NL, Springer, 300pp.


Research Interests

Specialisms: Gelatinous zooplankton, jellyfish blooms, zooplankton

Dr Lucas has published 39 articles and 3 book chapters in peer-reviewed literature. She has produced a new book “Jellyfish Blooms” Pitt KA & Lucas CH (eds), Springer, which has been published as an e-book in 2013 and in hard copy in 2014.

I have a broad interest in coastal and estuarine processes, in particular the interaction between biological communities and the environment, and how ecosystems function and respond to change. My main research focus is the biology and ecological role of jellyfish in pelagic food webs, in particular studies of the population dynamics, trophic impact and reproductive biology of UK species. Current research projects are focusing on the magnitude, causes and consequences of jellyfish blooms around the globe; polyp ecology and the roles of asexual and sexual reproduction in forming and maintaining jellyfish populations; phenotypic differences between populations of Aurelia; causes of, and problems associated with jellyfish stranding on beaches; and the macro-ecology of mesopelagic jellyfish. 

Recently funded research projects:
Hirst AG & Lucas CH (2009 – 2012) Copepod sex ratio dynamics: the role of predators and food. NERC Standard grant.

Condon RH, Duarte CM, Graham WM et al. (2009 – 2011) Global expansion of jellyfish blooms: magnitude, causes and consequences. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), UC Santa Barbara, via NSF funding.

Lucas CH & Houghton JDR (QUB). 2012-2013. The influence of scyphozoan polyps on the distribution and abundance of bloom-forming jellyfish. National Geographic Society, Global Exploration Fund. 


The jellywatch website http://www.jellywatch.org/blooms  contains further links to the global jellyfish blooms project, which includes an online newsletter, project updates and the YouTube video of the Jellyfish ROCK public outreach event hosted by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Supervision for postgraduate students

Mike Blackett - Joint University of Southampton and SAHFOS funded (2011-)
Biology and ecology of a common blooming jellyfish, the siphonophore Muggiaea atlantica

Graihagh Hardinge - Joint NHM-University of Southampton studentship (2013-)
The macroecology of globally distributed deep-sea jellyfish

Laura McMonagle - (2013-)
An integrated evolutionary study of Scyphozoan life histories

Danja Hoehn - (2013-)
Why is Aurelia common? Examining the plasticity of widespread bloom forming jellyfish

Primary research group:  Marine Biology and Ecology


Reviewer on biology/ecology panel for the Norwegian Research Council (2009-2011)
Member of NERC Peer Review College (since 2012)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (since 2009)
Member of the NCEAS-funded Global Jellyfish Blooms Working Group (2010-2012)
Guest editor of Marine Ecology Progress Series Theme Section on Jellyfish Blooms

Teaching Responsibilities

SOES1006 Introduction to Marine Ecology (1st year) - module co-ordinator
SOES6052 Tropical Marine Biology, including residential fieldtrip to Bermuda (4th year) - contributor
SOES6013 Introduction to Biological Oceanography (MSc) - contributor
Key skills / tutorials (1st and 2nd year)
SOES1007 Marine Invertebrates (contributor)
Marine Biology and Study Abroad Liaison
Coordinator of exchange programme with University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
BSc and MSci Honours project supervisor
Contemporary Topics supervisor


Dr Cathy Lucas
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton University of Southampton Waterfront Campus European Way Southampton SO14 3ZH United Kingdom

Room Number: NOCS/566/02

Telephone: (023) 8059 6617
Email: cathy.lucas@noc.soton.ac.uk