Jellyfish numbers jump worldwide
Linda Koleen (L), her granddaughter Zoe (C), and Miranda Starbuck from Fresno, California, view Moon Jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, March 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Richard Green)
It’s not quite the attack of underwater monsters seen in old horror films, but the number jellyfish around the world is on the rise. That could mean a lot more clogged water intakes, fishing interference and stings for swimmers.
Results from a University of B.C. study show the bell-shaped creatures are increasing in 62% of the world’s 45 largest marine ecosystems in regions such as east Asia, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, Hawaii and Antarctica.
“There has been anecdotal evidence that jellyfish were on the rise in recent decades, but there hasn’t been a global study that gathered together all the existing data until now,” the study’s lead author Lucas Brotz said.
The study collected information dating back to 1950 to the present on 138 different jellyfish populations, making the study one of the most comprehensive in the world.
Jellyfish aren’t entirely to blame, however. The study also noted population increases were often seen in areas heavily hit by humans, whether through pollution, overfishing or warming waters.
Jellyfish decreases, however, were only seen in 7% of the world’s coastal regions.