Millions of jellyfish gather in a marine lake in Palau in the Pacific. Scientists believe that some jellyfish swarms are natural phenomena and that some jellyfish swarms are promoted by human activities.
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Image Courtesy of Michael Dawson, University of California, Merced

New Online Report on Massive Jellyfish Swarms Released
News story originally written on January 6, 2009

Huge swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are turning parts of the world's ocean into "jellytoriums" that are sometimes jam-packed with these slimy creatures. Areas that are currently hard-hit by jellyfish include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the east coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea, the Sea of Japan, the North Sea, and Namibia.

Massive jellyfish swarms--some of which cover hundreds of square miles--have caused injuries and even occasional deaths to people in the ocean, and have caused serious damage to fisheries, fish farms, marine mines, ships, and nuclear power plants.

These swarms include potentially deadly, peanut-sized jellyfish in Australia and hundreds of millions of refrigerator-sized jellyfish in the Sea of Japan. Scientists think the population explosions of jellyfish are being caused by human activities like pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing, and the presence of human-made structures like oil and gas rigs. But which of these human activities, if any of them, are really to blame?

The National Science Foundation has released a new multi-media report that has information about the causes and character of jellyfish blooms. It is called Jellyfish Gone Wild: Environmental Change and Jellyfish Swarms, and can be found at:

Jellyfish Gone Wild features eye-popping photos and videos of jellyfish, stinging statistics about jellyfish swarms, and thought-provoking explanations of how and why jellyfish swarms form.

Last modified January 6, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

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