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Press Release 08-216

New Online Report on Massive Jellyfish Swarms Released

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Photo of jellyfish gathering in a marine lake in Palau in the Pacific.

Millions of jellyfish gather in a marine lake in Palau in the Pacific. Scientists believe that some jellyfish swarms are natural phenomena and that some jellyfish swarms are promoted by human activities.

Credit: Michael Dawson, University of California, Merced


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Photo of a dense jellyfish swarm in the Gulf of Mexico

In the Gulf of Mexico's densest swarms, there are more jellyfish than there is water.

Credit: Monty Graham, Dauphin Island Sea Lab


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Photo of a jellyfish.

Swimming and swarming in the world's oceans for more than 500 million years, gelatinous animals have influenced marine ecosystems almost as long as marine ecosystems have existed.

Credit: NOAA


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A researcher swims with a jellyfish species known as Chrysaora on the coast of Argentina. (The researcher's wet suite protects him from the jellyfish's sting.) To learn about jellyfish research, visit the National Science Foundation's Special Report on jellyfish; Jellyfish Gone Wild: Environmental Change and Jellyfish Swarms.

Credit: John H. Costello of Providence College

 

A lion's mane jellyfish in Narragansett Bay. Notice that many smaller jellies are captured in this jellyfish's tangle of tentacles. During the summer of 2008, the lion's mane jellyfish, which has a very painful sting, swarmed along the east coast of the U.S. The largest lion's manes live in the Arctic and may have tentacles that are up to 100 feet long. That's longer than a 100-foot-long blue whale.

Credit: John H. Costello of Providence College