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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.
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Image Courtesy of Michael Dawson, University of California, Merced

New Online Report on Massive Jellyfish Swarms Released
News story originally written on January 6, 2009

Parts of the ocean are filling up with swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals. Areas that are hard-hit by jellyfish include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the east coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Japan.

Massive jellyfish swarms have caused injuries and even occasional deaths to people in the ocean. They have also caused serious damage to fisheries, fish farms, ships, and nuclear power plants. Some of these swarms cover hundreds of square miles.

Scientists think the population explosions of jellyfish are being caused by human activities like pollution, climate change, overfishing, and structures like oil and gas rigs. But which of these human activities, if any of them, are really to blame?

The National Science Foundation has released Jellyfish Gone Wild, which features eye-popping photos and videos of jellyfish, stinging statistics about jellyfish swarms, and interesting explanations of how and why jellyfish swarms form. The report can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/jellyfish/index.jsp.

Last modified January 6, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

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