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Global experts question claims about jellyfish populations
Date:2/1/2012

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Blooms, or proliferation, of jellyfish have shown a substantial, visible impact on coastal populations clogged nets for fishermen, stinging waters for tourists, even choked intake lines for power plants and recent media reports have created a perception that the world's oceans are experiencing increases in jellyfish due to human activities such as global warming and overharvesting of fish.

Now, a new global and collaborative study conducted at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) questions claims that jellyfish are increasing worldwide and suggests claims are not supported with any hard evidence or scientific analyses to date.

The results of the study, led by Rob Condon, marine scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) in Alabama, appear in the latest issue of the journal BioScience. Condon's co-authors are comprised of experts from the Global Jellyfish Group, a consortium of approximately 30 experts on gelatinous organisms, climatology, oceanography, and socioeconomics from around the globe, and include co-principal investigators Carlos Duarte of the University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute and the Instituto Mediterrneo de Estudios Avanzados in Spain, and Monty Graham of the University of Southern Mississippi.

"Clearly, there are areas where jellyfish have increased the situation with the Giant Jellyfish in Japan is a classic example," says Condon. "But there are also areas where jellyfish have decreased, or fluctuate over the decadal periods." Condon says understanding the long-term rather than short-term data is the key to solving the question about jellyfish blooms.

Increased speculation and discrepancies about current and future jellyfish blooms by the media and in climate and science reports formed the motivation for the study. "There are major consequences for getting the answer correct for tourism, fisheries and management
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Contact: George Foulsham
george.foulsham@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-3071
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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