Jellyfish Numbers are Increasing Because of Humans

Jellyfish are spineless little devils. I do mean that in a good way. They are the most efficient swimmers on Earth, pulling their way forward rather than pushing. The "immortal jellyfish" rises phoenix-like from the dead. When it dies the decomposing body puts out stolon stalks which become babies.

High-latitude coral

They are rapidly increasing in the world's oceans due mainly to Man. Most variations breed under man-made marine structures such as piers. The killing off of predatory fish for human food allows the transparent creatures to vastly increase in number.

Cyaneidae have caused many problems over the years. Those going for a swim regularly get stung. In 2006 the seemingly invulnerable USS Ronald Reagan was put out of action by masses of jellyfish clogging the cooling system. Power plants and desalination facilities have also been stalled.

Two million workers became unemployed when the comb jelly native to North America invaded the Black Sea in 1980 and destroyed anchovy fisheries. Only the introduction of a jelly rival saved the day by consuming the destroyers.

This could be the subject of a horror movie: The tentacled monsters enter the water supply of major cities, die there, then rise up in their thousands from polyps emanating from detritus of parent corpses.

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◆  BIOLOGY  

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