I've tried to vary topics here over the past few years, but I keep coming back to one theme: the future belongs to jellyfish:
From Spain to New York, to Australia, Japan and Hawaii, jellyfish are becoming more numerous and more widespread, and they are showing up in places where they have rarely been seen before, scientists say. The faceless marauders are stinging children, forcing beaches to close and clogging fishing nets.SEATTLE TIMES.
But while jellyfish invasions are a nuisance to swimmers and a hardship to fishermen, for scientists they are a source of more profound alarm, a signal of the declining health of the world's oceans.
"These jellyfish near shore are a message the sea is sending us saying, 'Look how badly you are treating me,' " said Josep-Maria Gili, one of the world's leading jellyfish experts, who has studied them at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona for more than 20 years.
The explosion of jellyfish populations, scientists say, reflects a combination of severe overfishing of natural predators such as tuna, sharks and swordfish; rising sea temperatures caused in part by global warming; and pollution that has depleted oxygen levels in coastal shallows.
These problems are pronounced in the Mediterranean, a sea bounded by more than a dozen countries that rely on it for business and pleasure. Left unchecked in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, these problems could make the swarms of jellyfish menacing coastlines a grim vision of seas to come....
Jellyfish, relatives of the sea anemone and coral, in fact are the cockroaches of the open waters, the ultimate maritime survivors who thrive in damaged environments — and that is what they are doing.