« Archives in June, 2011

Man of War closer to British waters as global warming causes biggest shift of marine life in two million years

Moving closer: The highly venomous Portuguese Man o' War jellyfish is increasingly being found in UK waters

The global warming of sea waters is causing the biggest movement of marine species in two million years, according to a huge new international study by 17 different science institutes

Among the changes recorded by scientists contributing to Project Clamer is the fact that huge blooms of a venomous warm-water species of jellyfish are massing in the North Atlantic.

The Pelagia noctiluca ‘dominates in many areas and outbreaks have become an annual event, forcing the closing of beaches,’ says the report.

‘This form of jellyfish is a gluttonous predator of juvenile fish, so researchers consider its spread a harmful trend.’

However, there was further bad news as the report also warned that the highly-venomous Portuguese Man O’War is also moving closer.

Physalia physalis, a jellyfish-like creature usually found in subtropical waters, is more regularly being discovered in northern Atlantic waters.

The research is to be published this year by Project Clamer, a major collaboration between 17 institutes on climate change and the oceans.

Among the other discoveries in worldwide waters, it was noted that aa 43-foot gray whale was spotted off the Israeli town of Herzliya last year.

Scientists came to a startling conclusion that it must have wandered across the normally icebound route above Canada, where warm weather had briefly opened a clear channel three years earlier.

On a microscopic level, scientists also have found plankton in the North Atlantic where it had not existed for at least 800,000 years.

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Aquarium opens new invasive jellyfish exhibit

KURE BEACH | The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher has opened a new exhibit in the Exotic Aquatics Gallery. Staffers have added white-spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) to the collection. Guests can learn more about the life cycle of a jellyfish while viewing these beautiful animals.

White-spotted jellyfish appear blue-gray with white spots atop their prominent bell. Although native to Australia, this particular species has become invasive in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Atlantic Ocean near the Cape Fear coast.

They usually grow to between 17 and 19 inches in diameter, although the largest white-spotted jellyfish on record, found on Sunset Beach in 2007, measured 28 inches.

The Exotic Aquatics Gallery features nonnative marine species.

This exhibit emphasizes the importance of well-balanced ecosystems. Invasive species can easily disrupt that balance by cutting off resources to other species, changing the chemical makeup of the water, and ultimately causing a shift in the entire food web. This affects every aspect of the way humans enjoy the ocean, from seafood cultivation to a simple day at the beach.

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is on U.S. 421 just south of Kure Beach. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 adults; $7 seniors 62 and up; $6 for ages 3-12 and free for kids under 2; registered groups of N.C. schoolchildren, and NC Aquarium Society members.

For more information, see www.ncaquariums.com.

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The team at OCS has experience and knowledge with marine sting science and the variety of animals that can ruin your day at the beach.  Ocean Care Solutions is excited to provide the definitive first aid to beach goers, surfers, wind surfers, kayakers, divers, sports fishermen and open water swimmers developed from years of medical and marine science research publications.

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