Image by jimg944 via Flickr
In Mackay Beach, Australia, deadly box jellies were collected last week from net tows near the coast. In Washington’s Puget Sound last year 100 egg-yolk jellies bloomed. Barcelona has so many jellies in the summer that lifeguards put up specially colored flags to warn swimmers of the danger level. Fishing nets in the Sea of Japan are becoming clogged with so many giant jellyfish that the catches look like the back of a garbage truck.
On Feb 8 the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) launched a new website to keep track of such observations and try to organize a global record of when jellyfish blooms occur. Seen a jellyfish in the wild? Take a picture and report the incident to Jellywatch.org
“The end goal of this is to determine how the size and frequency of blooms are changing over time and to look at the ocean conditions present when those blooms were occurring to gain some insight into what causes jellyfish blooms,” said Katherine Elliott, a senior at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, in Needham, Mass. who helped design the site and presented a poster about the site during the Ocean Sciences Conference in Portland, OR, this week.
Whether enough viewers contribute to the site to make it useful will be critical in determining its success. Elliott expects the project to take several years to see trending data emerge. In the meantime, “we also want to collaborate with other websites and organizations collecting jellyfish sighting reports.” http://jellywatch.org/regional