Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 555–566 | Cite as

Occurrence and public perception of jellyfish along the German Baltic coastline

  • Sarah BaumannEmail author
  • Gerald Schernewski


Jellyfish accumulations are often problematic for tourism and fisheries both along European coastlines and overseas. They damage the reputation of several seaside resorts and cause serious economic losses. On the German Baltic coast, jellyfish accumulations are well known, too. Besides population increase due to anthropogenic effects, normal hydrodynamic processes are notable key factors when it comes to jellyfish accumulations. Along German Baltic coastlines, moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) occur most frequently but also stinging lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) appear regularly, however not as abundant. The objectives of our study were a) to screen when, where, how many and which jellyfish species occur on German Baltic coasts, b) to find the causes for jellyfish accumulations and c) to evaluate how beach visitors perceive native medusae and whether information can influence their perception. Different methods where combined: systematic jellyfish observations in cooperation with lifeguards, investigations of jellyfish abundance in shallow water zones, and interviews with beach visitors. Our results suggest that jellyfish occurrence along the German Baltic coast correlates with offshore wind or shore-parallel wind, which cause upwelling events. In contrast, there is no evidence that frequency of jellyfish occurrence was dependent on water temperature in summer. In regard to tourism, we found that beach visitors who received information about jellyfish stated to feel significantly less bothered by medusae. Overall, this article addresses different methods to learn more about jellyfish accumulations and it shows information strategies in terms of improved beach management.


Aurelia aurita Cyanea capillata Accumulation Coastal upwelling Bathing tourism Beach management 



The authors like to thank S. Kube and I. Krämer (Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Research Warnemünde) as well as G. Graf (University of Rostock, Department of Marine Science) for their comments on the paper and some methodological approach. The work was financially supported by the projects BaltCICA (European Union, Baltic Sea Region Programme), RADOST and IKZM-Oder III (Federal Ministry for Education and Research; 03F0475 and 01LR0807)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Coastal and Marine ManagementRostockGermany

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