Representatives of gelatinous zooplankton are increasingly reported in large numbers, with more than 1000 species worldwide, including Cnidaria, Ctenophora and Thaliacea, often collectively known as “jellyfish”. • The reasons for increasing jellyfish blooms are probably manifold, ranging from local to global. Climate change and overfishing are global phenomena, and are good candidates as primary drivers of the rise of gelatinous zooplankton, at least in some parts of the ocean. • Current evidence suggests that sea warming is forcing temperate marine biota towards the poles, with tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems due to community phase shifts. Climate change is also negatively affecting tropical communities, as exemplified by the increasing frequency of coral bleaching events. Gelatinous zooplankton appear to be expanding their distributions, as seen in the Mediterranean Sea with the increased presence of tropical species, likely favoured by both temperature increases and the progressive enlargement of the Suez Canal. • There is no evidence that temperature rises are threatening tropical jellyfish species, as they are with corals, but this might be due to current lack of observations. • Increases in temperature may broaden the reproductive periods of mid-latitude jellyfish, and improve winter survival of tropical species expanding to temperate waters, therefore boosting both alien and native outbreaks. • Increases in temperature at high latitudes might be detrimental for indigenous species, reducing their reproductive outputs. So far, limited increases in temperature at high latitudes do not support the proliferation of warm-water, non-indigenous species. • The resulting patterns should see a stable situation at low and high latitudes, with no tendency to gelatinous plankton blooms, whereas these phenomena should increase at mid-latitudes, but this speculation needs to be substantiated by focused studies.
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