February 7, 2007

Rise of the Jellies

Rise of the Jellies

I have developed a theory that I am a magnet for stinging marine life… Yesterday, while riding a ski, a bluebottle leaped (ok, I might have accidentally flicked it up with my paddle) out of the water and wrapped itself around my body three times over, by the time I got to Tamarama the toxin had gotten into my balls again and I needed to sit down for a long time.

Chris Glover, The Magnet, Chris Glover’s Blog, February 4, 2007.

Some people have argued that we’ll be down to slime and jellyfish, in terms of what’s going to be in the ocean.

Nancy Knowlton on Open Source, January 31, 2006.

While researching our show about global warming and the oceans, we noticed some disturbing references to a coming explosion in the world’s jellyfish population. Apparently, climate change, pollution, and overfishing are combining to make conditions more favorable for simple organisms like jellyfish at the expense of the more complex creatures that we humans rely on for food. And this isn’t just conjecture; jellies are assaulting on all fronts, and they can be dangerous.


Since last summer, Japanese waters have been inundated with the massive sea creatures [the Nomura’s Jellyfish], which can grow 6.5 feet (2 meters) wide and weigh up to 450 pounds (220 kilograms)… The invertebrates are choking fishing nets and poisoning the catch with their toxic stingers, fishers say. And although reports of serious human injury are rare, there are records of people dying from the creature’s noxious sting.

Blake de Pastino, Photo in the News: Giant Jellyfish Invade Japan, NationalGeographic.com, January 19 2006.


After navigating the waters of the Mar Menor, Ricardo Aguilar, the director of research on Oceana’s catamaran, said: “We have found jellyfish all over the Mediterranean, but in this area we’ve seen concentrations of more than 10 jellyfish per square metre. Wherever we look, there is practically nowhere without jellyfish.”

Stephen Castle, Jellyfish plague blamed on climate change, The Independent, August 8, 2006.


Eight people were admitted to hospital yesterday after being stung by bluebottle jellyfish on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Lifeguard Graham Minter says most of them were children who suffered allergic reactions to the stings. He says more than 700 people reported stings at the coast’s beaches throughout the day.

Jellyfish sting 700 on Gold Coast beaches, ABC News, January 15, 2007.

Last year more than twice as many people were stung by jellyfish than in 2005, and new studies link the jelly invasion to global climate change. For a more personal look at the jellyfish boom, check out the Urban Pantheist’s photos of the moon jellies in Boston Harbor.

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