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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton
(023) 8059 6617

Dr Cathy Lucas BSc, PhD

Associate Professor in Marine Biology

Dr Cathy Lucas's photo
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Dr Cathy Lucas is Associate Professor in Marine Biology within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.

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)






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  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

Research group(s)

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



  • Jellyfish blooms - Pitt, Kylie A. and Lucas, Cathy H. (eds.)
    Published by:
    Dordrecht, NL

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/456/08

Telephone: (023) 8059 6617

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