JellyFish Facts

Contributing To Jellyfish Awareness

Contributing To Jellyfish Awareness picture

Contributing To Jellyfish Awareness

Thursday, April 1, 2010

If you look at marine news items in recent past closely, you will find that jellyfish have appeared in the news very frequently. Even though jellyfish are amongst the oldest living organisms on the face of the planet, there is still a lot we don’t know about them. Even though we have identified and classified a number of species, there are perhaps more species that we don’t know about considering how much ocean area we are yet to uncover. There is little wonder then that jellyfish have become a source of undying interest in the scientific community.

However, jellyfish have been in the news for another reason as well, one that is far scarier. Different species of jellyfish are turning up in large numbers along different coastlines in the world and creating havoc. In Japan, giant jellyfish are poisoning the fish along coasts as well as destroying fishing nets and other fishing equipment, causing losses in millions of dollars and creating huge setbacks in the fishing industry. In Australia, the incidents of stings from the box jellyfish, one of the most deadly creatures in the world, are on the rise and death toll is on the rise. Many beaches are being closed down as these deadly jellyfish are spotted just off the coastline in large numbers.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of interest in jellyfish at the moment- whether to understand them better from the scientific point of view or whether to prevent or prepare for another jellyfish invasion. One of the many things that can help the scientific community in its quest to unravel the mystery that is the jellyfish is a detailed record of where different species of jellyfish have been sighted around the world.

One website that is doing a highly commendable job of keeping a detailed record of jellyfish sightings is Jelly Watch - http://jellywatch.org/. It is a page where anybody can record a jellyfish sighting. If you go out swimming in the ocean today and spot a jellyfish, you can log on to this site and record your sighting. If you don’t know the species, you can attach a picture and if you don’t have a picture, all you have to do is provide a detailed description. And, it is not just restricted to jellyfish sightings- you can also report on other marine life you come across as well as the conditions of the beach, as these are important indicators of the ecological balance on and around the beach. Also, the site makes it very easy to contribute. You don’t need any registration, but you can sign up for an account if you intend to be a regular contributor.

So, do go and have a look at the website- http://jellywatch.org/. Better still, bookmark it and whenever you come across a jellyfish, an interesting marine creature or remarkable beach conditions, make a note of it and report in on the website. You can be satisfied in the knowledge that you have contributed to mankind’s understanding of the oceans.

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Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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