Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Jellyfish Joyride' A Threat To The Oceans

Date:
June 10, 2009
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Early action could be crucial to addressing the problem of major increases in jellyfish numbers, which appears to be the result of human activities. New research presents convincing evidence that this "jellyfish joyride" is associated with over-fishing and excess nutrients from fertilizers and sewage.

The numbers of jellyfish, like this 'Catostylus', appear to be on the increase due to a combination of pollution, overfishing and climate change.
Credit: Lisa Gershwin, Reef HQ

Early action could be crucial to addressing the problem of major increases in jellyfish numbers, which appears to be the result of human activities.

New research led by CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship and University of Queensland scientist, Dr Anthony Richardson, presents convincing evidence that this ’jellyfish joyride’ is associated with over-fishing and excess nutrients from fertilisers and sewage.

“Dense jellyfish aggregations can be a natural feature of healthy ocean ecosystems, but a clear picture is now emerging of more severe and frequent jellyfish outbreaks worldwide,” Dr Richardson says.

“In recent years, jellyfish blooms have been recorded in the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Black and Caspian Seas, the Northeast US coast, and particularly in Far East coastal waters.

“The most dramatic have been the outbreaks in the Sea of Japan involving the gargantuan Nomura jellyfish which can grow up to 2 m in diameter and weigh 200 kg.”

The new research, by Dr Richardson and colleagues at the University of Miami, Swansea University and the University of the Western Cape, has been published in the international journal; Trends in Ecology and Evolution, in time for World Oceans Day on 8 June. 

“Fish normally keep jellyfish in check through competition and predation but overfishing can destroy that balance,” Dr Richardson says. “For example, off Namibia intense fishing has decimated sardine stocks and jellyfish have replaced them as the dominant species.”

Climate change may favour some jellyfish species by increasing the availability of flagellates in surface waters – a key jellyfish food source. Warmer oceans could also extend the distribution of many jellyfish species.

“Mounting evidence suggests that open-ocean ecosystems can flip from being dominated by fish, to being dominated by jellyfish,” Dr Richardson says “This would have lasting ecological, economic and social consequences.

 “We need to start managing the marine environment in a holistic and precautionary way to prevent more examples of what could be termed a ‘jellyfish joyride’.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richardson et al. The jellyfish joyride: causes, consequences and management responses to a more gelatinous future. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2009; 24 (6): 312 DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.01.010

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "'Jellyfish Joyride' A Threat To The Oceans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609092057.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2009, June 10). 'Jellyfish Joyride' A Threat To The Oceans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609092057.htm
CSIRO Australia. "'Jellyfish Joyride' A Threat To The Oceans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609092057.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins