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

decisions as they relate to climate change and changing ocean environments," says Duarte. "The important aspect about our synthesis is that we will be able to support the current paradigm with hard scientific data rather than speculation."

The study highlights the centerpiece of their research collaboration with NCEAS the formation of a global database called the Jellyfish Database Initiative (JEDI) a community-based database project that is being used in the global analysis and to test the worthiness of the current paradigm. The database consists of over 500,000 data points about global jellyfish populations collected from as early as 1790, and will serve as a future repository for datasets so that the issue of jellyfish blooms can be continually monitored in the future.

By analyzing JEDI, the group will be able to assess key aspects behind the paradigm, including whether current jellyfish blooms are caused by human-made actions or whether we are simply more aware of them due to their impact on human activities, such as over-harvesting of fish and increased tourism. "This is the first time an undertaking of this size on the global scale has been attempted, but it is important to know whether jellyfish blooms are human-induced or arise from natural circumstances," says Condon. "The more we know, the better we can manage oceanic ecosystems or respond accurately to future effects of climate change.

"The scientific data exists to answer this question, but it is fragmented in analysis," says Condon. The global analyses using JEDI are currently under way with an anticipated finish date of spring 2012.


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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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