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Long-term study links box jellyfish abundance, environmental variability at Waikiki Beach
Date:10/23/2013

You can almost set your watch to it.

A familiar sight to local beachgoers, the box jellyfish Alatina moseri is known for showing up in big numbers on Waikīkī Beach 8 to 12 days after each full moon.

Continuing a pioneering jellyfish beach count effort initiated in the 1980s by Honolulu lifeguard Landy Blair, researchers at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa have published an analysis of 14 years of monthly jellyfish collection data.

173 full moons and 66,000 jellyfish since they began, the resulting paper titled "Long-term fluctuations in circalunar beach aggregations of the box jellyfish Alatina moseri in Hawaii, with links to environmental variability," is scheduled for release in the October 23, 2013, issue of PLOS ONE.

"Although there have been long-term studies of jellyfish abundance and climate in recent years, none have looked at box jellyfish species," said Luciano Chiaverano, Research Scholar in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) at UH Mānoa and lead author of the paper. "This is quite surprising, as box jellyfish are among the most venomous animals in the world. Often their habitat overlaps with human recreation, resulting in painful, sometimes even lethal, stings and causing beach closures at various locations around the world."

"Our box jellyfish collection data is the longest continual time-series census of a cubozoan species in the world, and provides a rich data set to analyze and assess physical and biological oceanographic correlations" said Angel Yanagihara, Assistant Research Professor and senior author of the new report.

Overall the researchers' analysis confirms Blair's early observations that box jellyfish arrive in Waikīkī with consistent, predictable timing based on the moon cycle: year after year, month after month, box jellyfish come to shore 8 to 12 days after each full moon presumably to reproduce. However, aggreg
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Contact: Talia Ogliore
togliore@hawaii.edu
808-956-4531
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Source:Eurekalert  

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