« Archives in July, 2011

Giant jellyfish spotted north of Tulalip..Seattle area Lion's Mane

Sherman Pike of Tulalip was at Kayak Point State Park Thursday morning with his son when they spotted a giant red blob washed up on the shore.

“I could only guess that it was a jellyfish but did not know until researching it later that this is a Lion’s Mane jellyfish, which spend the majority of their lives in the open ocean before coming closer to shore near death,” Pike wrote in an email to KOMO. “The largest species of jellyfish in the world, the Lion’s Mane jelly holds a record at over eight feet in diameter (found in the 1870’s).”

Pike said his son is about four-and-a-half feet tall, and he estimates the fish was a little bit smaller.

Giant jellyfish spotted north of Tulalip

St Andrews University expert says jellyfish bloom could be a sting in the tail from winter

The Courier.co.UK

Large numbers of the organisms have been spotted in waters off the east coast in recent weeks but nobody has been able to explain the sudden explosion in jellyfish numbers.

jellyfish general

Chad Widmer, who is studying jellyfish life cycles for part of his PhD at St Andrews University, believes the answer may lie in the weather that brought Scotland to a standstill last winter.

A former member of the US Army, Mr Widmer ran the jellyfish gallery at Monterey Bay Aquarium in California for 10 years and is an expert on the creatures. Mr Widmer said evidence shows there is a direct correlation between winter temperatures and summer jellyfish numbers.

“Jellyfish numbers peak around the middle of summer and around September they disappear,” he said. “But then every seven to 10 years you see more and some years there seem to be less.

“The thing it seems to correlate to is a cold winter.”

Mr Widmer explained that a fertilised jellyfish egg turns into a polyp, a seaanemone-like creature that attaches itself to rocks on the seabed. This then reproduces asexually, creating the larva that grows into an adult jellyfish.

He said the colder the temperature of the sea surface, the more conducive it is to the polyps budding and creating more jellyfish.

“A cold winter leads to an increase in jellyfish production — things that happened six months ago are having an effect now,” said Mr Widmer.

The increased number of jellyfish blooms spotted in coastal waters has prompted the Marine Conservation Society to ask beachgoers to take part in a survey of jellyfish numbers to learn more about why their numbers are increasing. They believe a range of other factors may also be contributing to a rise in numbers.

“There is strong evidence that jellyfish numbers are increasing around the world, including UK seas, and these increases have been linked to factors such as pollution, over-fishing and possibly climate change,” said MCS biodiversity programme manager Peter Richardson.

Species usually seen in British waters are the barrel, moon, compass, blue and lion’s mane jellyfish. Anyone who takes part in the survey is urged not to touch the jellyfish as some found in British waters can sting, although none fatally.


Don’t get stung without it !

Chad Widmer is a world class marine scientist and great guy..I have the privilege of knowing Chad & found few scientist at his level that understand his field of expertise so thoroughly while, at the same time, explain his extraordinary science in ways that make sense to those who don’t…Ron Adley..

Sea Urchins

Sea urchins or urchins are small, spiny, globular animals which, with their close kin, such as sand dollars, constitute the class Echinoidea of the echinoderm phylum.  They inhabit all oceans. Their shell, or “test”, is round and spiny, typically from 3 to 10 centimetres (1.2 to 3.9 in) across. Common colors include black and dull shades of green, olive, brown, purple, and red. They move slowly, feeding mostly on algae, Sea otters, wolf eels, triggerfish, and other predators feed on them.  The name urchin is an old name for the round spiny hedgehogs that sea urchins resemble.


Dont’ get stung without it !

Marine biologists report outbreak of Portuguese Man-o-War..Maldives Island

JJ Robinson..Minivan News Maldives

An outbreak of Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish around the Maldives has sent guests at many of the country’s upmarket resorts out of the water and back to their villas.

The creatures, which can give a nasty sting, have been reported appearing in lagoons and housereefs around islands in atolls including North Male Atoll, Baa Atoll, North Ari Atoll and Gaaf Dhaal Atoll.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru reported a brief outbreak, while Huvafen Fushi in North Male Atoll has had the creatures washing up on the beach for eight days. Kuramathi in North Ari Atoll has also been affected.

Marine biologist Verena Wiesbauer Ali said seasonal outbreaks were not unusual. The creatures were not native to the Maldives reef ecosystem but swarms of them could become trapped by the reef and end up on the beach, she said.

“They can still sting for quite some time on the beach if the cells in the tentacles are still active, which can affect guests walking [barefoot],” noted Wiesbauer, who coauthored a first aid guide together with Dr Jens Lindner and Dr Reinhard Kilinger to the country’s toxic marine life after she was stung by a purple jellyfish while swimming, and was asked by an island doctor why she had eaten one.

Despite its appearance the Portuguese Man-o-War was not really a jellyfish, she explained, and that the usual treatment for jellyfish stings – vinegar, urine or alcohol – could discharge more of the toxic nematocysts in the sting.

Hot water was the recommended treatment for protein-based toxins, such as those from the Portugese Man-o-War or stonefish, she said.

“Clinics should have supplies of anti-histamine because the itching from a sting can be extreme. Applying ice for a few minutes can stop it from spoiling a holiday,” she added.

“Hotels have a duty to inform tourists when there is an outbreak, as someone stung may sue the hotel. It’s also important for snorkelers to understand the risk, and protect themselves with long sleeves – even thin cover is effective, although obviously this does not cover the face.”

Marine Biologist at Kuramathi Resort and Spa in Rasdhoo Atoll, Laura Riavitz, said the outbreak at the resort was worse than last year, “when there was a day when you wouldn’t even stick your toe in the water.”

“We are informing people on welcome and have put out notices at the main reception and the dive school, being careful not to panic people and asking them to wear rash vests,” she said.

Riavitz was herself stung by one last year: “It began very painfully, like a burning sensation on the skin. Sometimes you can’t see anything and don’t know what it is. The most important thing is not to scratch it, otherwise the sting can be carried to other parts of the body, such as the face,” she said.

The Portuguese Man-o-War did not move under its own power, and instead drifted with the currents using a gas bladder and with its tentacles stretching out behind it, she explained.

The creature was normally eaten by predators such as sea turtles, she noted, “although at the moment there are not enough predators to keep the numbers down.”


Don’t get stung without it !

Stingray injury treatment dominates lifeguard activities..Seal Beach

Charles M.Kelly..Sun Newspapers

Seal Beach lifeguards treated 147 stingray injuries between Friday, July 1 and Thursday, July 7.

Lifeguards treated 35 stingray victims in one day on Saturday, July 2.

“We had extremely high beach attendance for all three days of the holiday weekend.  Sunday was the largest day in terms of attendance, as the beach was less crowded on the holiday Monday.  Saturday July 2nd we treated over 35 stingray victims in a three hour period, which nearly overwhelmed us, as we ran out of hot water and buckets,” Bailey wrote.

The standard treatment for stingray injuries is to soak the wound  in hot water.

“We were using a coffee maker to supplement our two water heaters and had to purchase new buckets at Bay Hardware on Main Street.  Fortunately, we had staffed up for the weekend as it took three lifeguards to service 35 victims in this short period of time,” wrote Joe Bailey, chief of the Marine Safety (lifeguard) Department.

We will make sure to get Chief Bailey our trademark Stingray Kit…


Don’t get stung without it!!

Deadly Man-O-War hits Irish shores

JOE.ie July 15, 2011

Swimmers have been warned they may face a stinging surprise this summer as the lethal Portuguese Man-O-War hits Irish shores.

Swarms of the deadly jellyfish-like creature are hitting our waters due to the warmer weather we’ve been having. Marine scientists from the University College Cork have warned anyone who might be soaking up some Irish sun this summer to keep a look out for the creepy creatures.

The invasion of the Man-O-War can be attributed to warming sea temperatures and strong winds, which could be caused by climate change. The introduction of the Man-O-War could see it overtaking the native, less poisonous, Lion’s Mane jellyfish.

Marine Ecologist at the Costal and Marine Research Centre at University College Cork, Thomas Bastian, said: “Increasing awareness is critical, especially as Portuguese Man-O-War stings can be very dangerous.”

The tentacles of a Man-O-War can be as long as seven metres and contrary to popular belief, the Mar-O-War isn’t actually a jellyfish. They are colonial siphonophores, which means the Man-O-War is a colony of many individuals. Because of this, the Man-O-War travels with the winds and currents and its sting can also be deadly, even when it’s dead.

People have been advised to keep an eye out for the purplish ‘floating bag’ when swimming in Irish waters this year. West coast swimmers should be particularly careful as well as surfers looking to catch some waves.

If someone is unfortunate enough to be stung by the creepy creature then they are advised to contact their local GP.


Man of War 1st Aid Kit…

Don’t get stung without it….

Sea Urchin in the Mediterranean

Spanish researchers have carried out a study to look at the ability of sea urchins (Paracentrotus lividus) – generalist herbivores that live in the Mediterranean – to limit the invasion of two introduced seaweeds (Lophocladia lallemandii and Caulerpa racemosa), which are having a “grave” effect on the seabed.

“After seven months of experimentation, we found that predation by these herbivores had no effect once Caulerpa racemosa was completely established, although it did reduce the degree to which it became established in the very early stages of invasion”, Emma Cebrián, according to lead author of the study and a researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Girona.

In the case of Lophocladia lallemandii, the sea urchins were able to limit the seasonal spread of the seaweed. “Since the amount of this species directly consumed by the sea urchins is very low, this reduction was due more to the decline in other native species (consumed by the sea urchins), which act as a substrate for the seaweed”, the expert explains.

The research, which has been published in Biological Invasions, shows that, although high sea urchin densities can have a limiting effect on the establishment of invasive seaweeds, “they exert no control whatsoever in highly invaded areas”, the researcher adds.


Don’t get stung without it…



An invasion of the Portuguese Man-of-War

National Geographic


An invasion of the Portuguese Man-of-War

Photo and caption by Patricia Mann

I came upon this scene at the beach. From afar it looked like a blue tarp with the man-of-wars piled so high. I spend a lot of time at the beach in Florida and never saw anything remotely similar before.

Neither have we Pat…an extraordinary site and one that can be very dangerous for the unaware or a child.  Even though the Man of War is beached and will die, their nematocysts are still very much active and can deliver a potent sting……Beautiful picture, incredible sight, vivid colors but one dangerous animal…thanks for the shot..



The Solution…don’t get stung without it…


Study: Sea urchins don't need eyes to 'see'

Science News

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, June 30 (UPI) — Sea urchins have no eyes but can “see” light with their entire bodies and react to it in their surroundings, Swedish researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg say most animals react to light and depend on a very sophisticated way of seeing complex images through the evolutionary development of eyes.

Good examples of this are the compound eyes of insects and the complex structure of the human eye, a university release said Thursday.

But sea urchins are one of a number of animals that can react to light even though they do not possess eyes.

Previous studies of sea urchins have shown they have several genes that are coded for a widely occurring eye protein, opsin.

“It was this discovery that underpinned our research,” Sam Dupont from the university’s Department of Marine Ecology said.

“We wanted to see where the opsin was located in sea urchins so that we could find the sensory light structures, or photoreceptors. We quite simply wanted to know where the sea urchin sees from.”

The answer, it appears, is from everywhere.

“We argue that the entire adult sea urchin can act as a huge compound eye, and that the shadow that is cast by the animal’s opaque skeleton over the light-sensitive cells can give it directional vision,” Dupont says.




Jellyfish sting nearly 2,000 people over weekend

Daytona News-Journal

DAYTONA Beach — About 1,300 people got stung by jellyfish today in the surf off Volusia County, a Beach Patrol captain said.

The jellyfish are expected in the water again Monday, said Beach Patrol Capt. Tammy Marris, because no major wind shifts are expected.

The calls for jellyfish stings started about 9 a.m. today and came all day long from New Smyrna Beach north to Ormond Beach.

Nearly 700 swimmers were stung Saturday, Marris said Sunday.

Beach officials have identified two species in the water — moon and cannonball jellyfish — but it is more likely that the moon jellyfish are the ones stinging, Marris said.

“The cannonball jellyfish is not really a stinging jellyfish,” Marris said.

Jellyfish can appear anytime off the beaches, Marris said.

“It’s really not a seasonal thing,” Marris said. “They are at the mercy of the wind and current, so they can show up any time of the year.”