Tuesday, 09 Jun, 2009 Environment

Monster Jellyfish to Take Over World's Oceans


With overfishing, people gave way for a new species of giant jellyfish (like the one seen in the picture) to invade the world's seas. Such giant ocean creatures might soon take over the planet's oceans, researchers say.

In the picture you see here, a diver attempts to attach a sensor in order to track the giant Echizen jellyfish. The monster jellyfish has a body of 5 feet across and was spotted off the coast of northern Japan. Usually jellyfish are controlled by fish that consume them, but with an increased overfishing it is hard to keep jellyfish in check, which is why their number is continuously increasing.

Such monster jellyfish as the one in the picture are able to burst through fishing nets. They also represent threat for local fisheries, having big taste for fish eggs and larvae. The discovery was described by Anthony Richardson of CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research and his team in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Researchers say that the population of jellyfish is expected to grow as a result of another factor - climate change. They believe that soon water conditions could lead to a "jellyfish stable state", which, according to the scientists, is a state when jellyfish rule the oceans. Overfishing together with high levels of nutrients in the water, including nitrogen and phosphorous, can cause a dramatic increase in the number of jellyfish and red phytoplankton, which generates low-oxygen dead zones that are perfect for jellyfish, but deadly for fish, reports Discovery News.

"(There is) a jellyfish called Nomura, which is the biggest jellyfish in the world. It can weigh 200 kilograms (440 pounds), as big as a sumo wrestler and is 2 meters in diameter," said Richardson, who added that jellyfish is currently blooming in Southeast Asia, the Black Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.

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