Saturday, December 13, 2008

Invasion of the Alien Jellyfish

!! Shock Horror !!

Perhaps due to my recent mauling by sea-life at the Atlanta Aquarium or perhaps due to the fact I’m been reading a lot of H.P. Lovecraft lately, I find this story upsetting.

Fri Dec 12, 6:16 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Huge swarms of stinging jellyfish and similar slimy animals are ruining beaches in Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, Australia and elsewhere, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

The report says 150 million people are exposed to jellyfish globally every year, with 500,000 people stung in the Chesapeake Bay, off the U.S. Atlantic Coast, alone.

Another 200,000 are stung every year in Florida, and 10,000 are stung in Australia by the deadly Portuguese man-of-war, according to the report, a broad review of jellyfish research.

The report, available on the Internet at, says the Black Sea's fishing and tourism industries have lost $350 million because of a proliferation of comb jelly fish.

The report says more than 1,000 fist-sized comb jellies can be found in a cubic yard (meter) of Black Sea water during a bloom.

They eat the eggs of fish and compete with them for food, wiping out the livelihoods of fishermen, according to the report.

And it says a third of the total weight of all life in California's Monterey Bay is made up of jellyfish.

Human activities that could be making things nice for jellyfish include pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing and building artificial structures such as oil and gas rigs.

Creatures called salps cover up to 38,600 square miles (100,000 sq km) of the North Atlantic in a regular phenomenon called the New York Bight, but researchers quoted in the report said this one may be a natural cycle.

"There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California Los Angeles says in the report.

These include pollution-induced "dead zones", higher water temperatures and the spread of alien jellyfish species by shipping.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Philip Barbara)


Jas said...

Nature is going to kill all of us, one way or another. I just wish it wouldn't be by large sea insects and instead be a large avalanche. Or an earthquake. But sea insects. Thanks, I'm not going to sleep now....

smussyolay said...

jellyfish scare me. i don't know where they rank in comparison to tumbleweeds. possibly 1.5 on the list with tumbleweeds being #1 and big signs being #2.