24 June 2006
JELLYFISH have been discovered in a mass grave off the coast of Oman.
The animals, which bloomed and died of natural causes, provided a feast for the creatures of the deep ocean compared with the usual rain of dead plankton.
From 2001 to 2003 the surface waters of the Arabian Sea were swarming with the jellyfish Crambionella orsini.
During a survey in December 2002, David Billet of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, and colleagues noticed large numbers of dead jellyfish on the seabed.
As the researchers report in a future issue of Limnology and Oceanography, the carpet of goo contained 10 times the amount of organic matter that normally reaches the sea floor in a year.
From issue 2557 of New Scientist magazine, 24 June 2006, page 22.