Thursday, January 8, 2009

Resistance Is Futile: the Jellyfish Are Winning


"In the Gulf of Mexico's densest jellyfish swarms there are more jellyfish than there is water -- 100 jellyfish can occupy each cubic meter of water."

We people, with our "financial meltdowns," our "ethnic conflicts," our "plans for the future" -- we're just minding the store for a while before the jellyfish completely take over everything. I was trying to pretend for a while that this blog was about stuff other than just jellyfish, but why pretend anymore? The jellyfish swarms will inevitably conquer all -- including this blog.
Jellyfish swarms have damaged fisheries, fish farms, seabed mining operations, desalination plants and large ships, and they have disabled nuclear power plants by clogging intake pipes.

In the Gulf of Mexico's densest jellyfish swarms there are more jellyfish than there is water - 100 jellyfish can occupy each cubic meter of water.

"I'm often asked whether a single, overarching condition is triggering jellyfish swarms in diverse locations," says Monty Graham of Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Graham says the abnormally large, dense or frequent jellyfish swarms are "a symptom of an ecosystem that has been tipped off balance by environmental stresses."

"The exact nature of such balance-tipping environmental stresses may vary from place to place and usually involve unique interactions with local ecology," Graham explains. "But such stresses are often caused by people."

So, just as a weakened person is vulnerable to opportunistic diseases, stressed ecosystems are vulnerable to infestations of jellyfish.

"There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California at Los Angeles says in the report.

These stresses include the introduction of jellyfish species into non-native habitats by ships; the formation of ultra-polluted areas, known as Dead Zones, where jellyfish face few predators and competitors; and increases in water temperatures, which accelerate the growth and reproduction of many jellyfish species.
Environment News Service.

Please also refer to this recent report from the National Science Foundation: "Jellyfish Gone Wild!: Environmental Change and Jellyfish Swarms".

Hey, National Science Foundation: the jellyfish have no sense of humor to appreciate your wacky report because they have no brains. The earth shall be inherited by swarms of gelatinous, brainless organic matter operating on rudimentary "nerve nets". That's just how Mother Nature rolls.