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Researchers challenge media reports of jellyfish blooms

Ross Cronkrite | Science Recorder | January 01, 2013

Researchers challenge media reports of jellyfish blooms

Scientists say jellyfish blooms are consequence of periodic global fluctuations.

A multinational group of researchers has challenged the widely held belief that there has been a global increase in jellyfish. According to the researchers, jellyfish blooms can have a significant impact on coastal populations, clogging nets for fishermen, stinging swimmers and sometimes blocking cooling intake pipes for power plants. The media has helped to create the perception that the Earth’s oceans are undergoing trending increases in jellyfish. This latest study suggests, however, that these trends are probably overstated, revealing that there is no strong evidence for a global increase in jellyfish over the past two-hundred years.

The key discoveries of the study reveal that global jellyfish populations are subjected to concurrent fluctuations with successive decadal periods of rise and fall. Researchers note, however, that a rising phase in the 1990s and early 2000s likely contributed to the current perception of a global increase in jellyfish numbers. They contend that a previous rising phase during the 1970s went unrecorded due to limited research on jellyfish at the time and a dearth of ways to share information.

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