Big British jellyfish survey

This video is called Vicious Beauties – The Secret World Of The Jellyfish.

From Wildlife Extra:

National Jellyfish Survey gives a tally of UK sightings for the first time in 40 years

A new report by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the University of Exeter details over 5000 reports of jellyfish sightings of eight different species sent to MCS by beach-goers between 2003 and 2011.

The National Jellyfish Survey is the largest of its kind in the UK and has been attracting a growing number of jellyfish sightings, with 2013 proving a record year when 1,133 reports were received.

This is also turning out to be a good year, with over 500 reports received by mid-July.

“Our survey puts jellyfish on the map in the UK,” said Dr Peter Richardson, Biodiversity Programme Manager for the MCS. “In this latest paper we show where and when these species now occur throughout UK coastal waters.

“The last time the national picture was described was well over four decades ago, so this study provides a very timely update.”

Prof Brendan Godley of the University of Exeter said, “By taking stock of our jellyfish in this way, we provide an important baseline of information which will help us understand how jellyfish species react to environmental changes that influence our coastal seas, including climate change.”

The main species found in British waters are the moon, compass, lion’s mane, blue and barrel jellyfishes.

Other species seen in lesser numbers are the mauve stinger, Portuguese Man of War (not a true jellyfish but a close relative) and the wind sailor (also a close relative of jellyfish). These together make up approximately 10 per cent of survey records and are not recorded every year.

“The remarkable number of barrel jellyfish reported from South West England this year is quite unusual,” said Prof Godley,

“We’re not sure why, but the very mild winter probably meant more adults survived at depth, which will have returned to the surface in spring as waters warmed up.

“This year’s strange barrel jellyfish results highlight the importance of running the survey year in and year out to track these unusual events and discover if they turn into trends”.

The survey depends on an army of over 3,500 jelly-spotting volunteers, who have been diligently sending in their sightings every year since 2003.

Dr Richardson said, “Our paper shows that publicly driven, collective citizen-science can help us understand our environment on a scale that would otherwise be unaffordable.”

A jellyfish photo-ID guide can be downloaded here and to take part in the survey, jellyfish encounters can also be reported here.

Survey participants should always remember to look carefully at jellyfish before reporting them, but should not touch them as some species have a powerful sting.

8 thoughts on “Big British jellyfish survey

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