Global Warming and Pollution Spurring Increase in Jellyfish Population

by Roberta Seldon on April 19, 2012

Global warming, pollution and human activity have led to an abundance of jellyfish in the most of the world’s coastal ecosystems, a study by researchers at the University of British Columbia says, according to The Vancouver Sun.

Researchers examined data from 45 of the world’s 66 large marine ecosystems. What they found was that jellyfish populations increased in 62 percent of the regions they examined. Those regions included East Asia, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the northeast United States shelf, Hawaii and Antarctica.

“There has been anecdotal evidence that jellyfish were on the rise in recent decades, but there hasn’t been a global study that gathered together all the existing data until now,” Lucas Brotz, a PhD student with the Sea Around Us Project, told The Sun.

“Our study confirms these observations scientifically after analysis of available information from 1950 to the present for more than 138 different jellyfish populations around the world.”

Daniel Pauly, lead researcher for the project, told The Sun that he believes human activity in marine habitats is likely responsible for the increase in jellyfish.

“We can also see that the places where we see rising numbers of jellyfish are often areas heavily impacted by humans through pollution, overfishing and warming waters,” he said.

This study was published online in the journal Hydrobiologia.

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