« Archives in November, 2011

The Big Pink…..the jellyfish that feeds on other jellies

Pictured is an adult pink meanie jellyfish measuring nearly three feet (one meter) wide searches the Gulf of Mexico for other jellyfish to eat. (Still from video courtesy Monty Graham, Dauphin Island Sea Lab)

Larger Drymonema can ensnare multiple moon jellyfish at once—one had been found with 34 moon jellyfish in its tentacles.

Since many jellyfish look very similar, past researchers assumed that there are very few jellyfish species. But UC Merced’s Michael Dawson has revealed many cryptic jellyfish—jellies that look the same but are actually separate species.


While the discovery that a single global species might actually be multiple species may seem trivial, it can become important when studying jellyfish ecology, since different species might behave differently.

“It changes the way in which we can study these guys and how they interact with humans and the marine environment,” Bayha said. “And they’re being recognized more and more as a major pest around the world.”

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Sea Urchins; fun to watch, not much fun to step on…

Sea urchins, in certain settings, are almost cuddly in appearance but of course, that’s not the case.  While urchins can be handled carefully without personal injury or harming the animal, they are not at all fun to step on while surfing, wind surfing, ocean kayaking, open water swimming, sports fishing or just hanging out at the beach.  Aside from providing nice eye appeal and gourmet sushi, stepping on one of these can ruin  your day.

That’s why Ocean Care Solutions created the Sea Urchin First Aid Kit…Go anywhere, light weight (14ozs.), heat sealed, water tight in our distinctive gold foil pouch with easy to read and follow directions to provide medically supported, effective pain relief and first aid attention.

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Mauve Jellyfish bloom in the Mediterranean…

A bloom of the purple jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) in the Mediterranean Sea, May 2007.   Pelagia noctiluca is a pulsating purple jellyfish with an angry sting are also found in the Atlantic along the Va. coast to the Fla. Keyes. Traditionally a bloom and bust cycle, the Mauve blooms typically occur about every 12 years followed by years of jellyfish free waters.

Everyone, from scientists to beachcombers, believe that jellyfish blooms have become more frequent. A new study by Robert Condon of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and collaborators found that jellyfish blooms can wreak havoc by disrupting ocean food webs – and indirectly adding carbon dioxide to seawater.

Jellyfish eat the tiny plankton at the base of the ocean food chain. By doing so in large volumes, they can reduce the amount of food that goes up the food chain to feed larger animals. Because few animals are able to eat such massive amounts of jellyfish, this may mean a dead-end for food going up the food chain.

What the new research found is that jellyfish release organic matter that dissolves in seawater. In other words, jellyfish “sweat” large amounts of carbon to the water surrounding them. This dissolved carbon is then used by a rare type of marine bacteria, that turns it into carbon dioxide. So there you have it: jellyfish add carbon dioxide to seawater – eventually turning the ocean more acidic.

How big an impact will this have on the global ocean? It’s difficult to know how much will jellyfish blooms trim ocean food webs or contribute to make the ocean more acidic, because we don’t know how frequent and large jellyfish blooms are in the open ocean. However, we do know that jellyfish blooms are becoming more frequent in coastal waters.

What is the solution? Because the cause of the blooms is probably due to a combination of factors (such as organic pollution, climate change, and overfishing), there’s no silver bullet that’s going to fix the problem from one summer to the next. Just be careful on the beach and don’t let them sting you.

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Article and photo courtesy of Enric Sala with Nat Geo

Chironex Fleckeri, The World’s Most Venomous Animal

Chironex means “the hand of death” in Latin and fl eckeri honors Hugo
Fleckeri, a jellyfi sh researcher.
Equipped with up to 60 tentacles that can each reach about 20 feet in length, the bell of a Chironex fleckeri may reach the size of a basketball. One adult Chironex fleckeri has enough venom to kill 60 adults.
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Credit: Courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia

Australian Irukandji Syndrome can be deadly….

Irukandji syndrome is a condition that is induced by venomization through the sting of Carukia barnesi, a species of Irukandji jellyfish, and other cubozoans. The condition is rarely fatal, but if immediate medical action is not taken, within only 20 minutes the victim could go into cardiac arrest and die.

The syndrome was given its name in 1952 by Hugo Flecker, after the Aboriginal Irukandji people who live in Palm Cove, north of CairnsAustralia where stings are common.

When properly treated a single sting is normally not fatal; however, two people in Australia are believed to have died from Irukandji stings, which has greatly increased public awareness of Irukandji syndrome. It is unknown how many other deaths from Irukandji syndrome have been wrongly attributed to other causes. The exact mechanism of action of Irukandji venom is unknown. It has been suggested that adrenaline excess may be an underlying mechanism in severe Irukandji syndrome.

The best tact is to avoid the waters when warnings have been posted.  Our team at OCS has been advised by Australian authorities that treatment calls for flushing the wound with vinegar/acetic acid..OCS Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution is a powerful 5% acetic acid that is very effective on a wide range of marine sting injuries but we have not attempted nor will we try our product on the Irukandji.  This is one very dangerous animal !!

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A few facts about jellyfish…

  • A group of jellyfish can be called a “bloom,” a “swarm” or a “smack.”
  • The lion’s mane jellyfish might be the longest animal in the world. Its thin tentacles can reach up to 120 feet long.
  • The Nomura’s jellyfish might be the largest jellyfish. Average specimens weigh 330 pounds, and the largest can reach 440 pounds.
  • Since jellyfish aren’t really fish, many scientists prefer to call them “jellies” or “sea jellies” instead.
  • Take them out of the water, though, and they become boring blobs. Why? Their bodies are more than 90 percent water!
  • Jellyfish don’t have bones, brains, hearts, blood or a central nervous system. Instead, they sense the world around them with a loose network of nerves called a “nerve net.”

Jellyfish consist of three basic layers. The outer layer, called the “epidermis,” contains the nerve net.

The middle layer is made of “mesoglea,” the thick, elastic stuff that looks like jelly. The final, inner layer is called the “gastrodermis.”

The most recognizable feature of a jellyfish is its tentacles that hang down from its body. Fascinating to look at, these tentacles can be dangerous to touch.  Jellyfish can sting with their tentacles. They use them to stun prey before they eat them.

Jellyfish don’t purposefully attack humans. Most jellyfish stings occur when someone accidentally touches a jellyfish. Even a dead jellyfish can sting!

How harmful a jellyfish sting is depends on the type of jellyfish. Some jellyfish stings have little or no effect on humans, while others may cause minor discomfort to extreme pain.  The sting of a few types of jellyfish, though — such as the Australian sea wasp, the Irukandji and thePortuguese man-of-war — can be potentially fatal.

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Information courtesy of Wonderopolis

How intelligent are jellyfish?

by Neil Kelley..

In short: Cnidarians have a simple nervous system — but given their relatively simple hardware they show surprisingly sophisticated behavior.

Jellyfish have a decentralized nervous system (nerve net) coupled with a variety of relatively sophisticated sensory organs to detect light, orientation, salinity and physical stimulus and they can respond in a rapid and coordinated manner to these stimuli [1]. Jellyfish also show evidence of habituation to repeated stimuli suggesting a capacity for information storage in their relatively simple nervous system [2]. Arguably the most sophisticated jellyfish are the cubozans (box jellyfish) which possess complex image forming eyes and are capable of navigating complicated, obstacle laden environments [3].

1 – Albert 2011 “What’s on the mind of a jellyfish? A review of behavioral observations on Aurelia sp. jellyfish” Neuroscience and Bioehavioral Reviewsdoi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.06.001

2 – Johnson and Wuensch 1994 “An investigation of habituation in the jellyfish, Aurelia aurita”Behavioral and Neural Biology
doi:10.1016/S0163-1047(05)80044-5

3 – Coates et al. 2006 “The spectral sensitivity of the lens eyes of a box jellyfish”JEB 
doi: 10.1242/​jeb.02431

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Like the Prodigal son..Portuguese Man o War return to south Florida every year

Riding the wind and ocean currents, hordes of blue, alien-like creatures will likely descended upon South Florida’s shoreline, entangling beachgoers in poisonous tentacles and delivering painful stings by the hundreds.

Each invader, in fact, isn’t an “it” but a “they” — a colony of organisms that combine to create a single entity, the Portuguese man-of-war. The seafaring wanderer with the neon-blue gas bag and tentacles as long as 30 feet seems more suited to a sci-fi horror flick than a sunny tourist beach.

But in Florida, its appearance is a yearly, if painful, ritual. The man-of-war visits every winter and early spring, driven onshore by southeasterly winds and the Gulf Stream’s current.

Be prepared…Ocean Care Solutions’ Man o War first aid kit..safe and effective..


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Pacific Coast Black Sea Nettle….will they be back in 2012?

The black sea nettle is considered a giant jelly; its distinctive purplish bell can reach over three feet (91 cm) in diameter; its lacy, pinkish oral arms can reach nearly 20 feet in length and its stinging tentacles 25 feet or more. It is reported to live in deeper, calmer waters but has appeared in large blooms in California coastal waters, most recently in 2010.

Giant black sea nettles appeared in droves along the San Diego shoreline in the summer of 1989. Then they mysteriously disappeared. The giant drifters reappeared again ten years later, in the summer of 1999.  It is likely that the appearance of black sea nettles in coastal California waters is also related to El Nino/La Nina events and the Red Tide.

The black sea nettle is a mysterious creature; during most years its whereabouts are unknown. Scientists just recently named this jelly in 1997, although pictures of the species were taken as early as 1926. Much about its behavior, distribution and life cycle remain a puzzle.

Be prepared..Ocean Care Solutions Jellyfish sting relief solution is safe and proven effective..Lidocaine free…don’t get stung without it !!

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Coral Population Stable and Sea Urchins Are on the Rise in Florida Keys

  • Nov 03, 2011  eponline.com Environmental Protection

Over the past decade, the populations of staghorn and elkhorn corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary have remained steady after dramatic declines in the last century. Long-term monitoring conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington (UNCW), has revealed that while populations of the iconic branching corals remain far below their historic numbers, the surviving populations of both species have not suffered further declines.

“Our estimates for population sizes for staghorn and elkhorn have remained relatively constant over the last ten years, with millions of staghorn colonies and several hundred thousand elkhorn colonies present throughout the sanctuary,” said UNC Wilmington researcher Steven Miller, principal investigator for the project. “These numbers, however, represent a small fraction of what previously existed throughout the Florida Keys.”

Coral disease devastated staghorn and elkhorn corals throughout the Keys and Caribbean starting in the late 1970s. Significant population declines were also caused by severe coral bleaching.Dwindling populations prompted the 2006 listing of staghorn and elkhorn coral as threatened on the Endangered Species List.

Since 1998, UNCW scientists have monitored the coral reef communities in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). During the summer of 2011, UNCW and national marine sanctuary scientists counted and measured corals, as well as invertebrates such as urchins and anemones, at 280 Florida sites from northern Key Largo to Islamorada.

“Results from this long-term research help sanctuary managers evaluate the condition of our coral reefs,giving us a big picture view of how much coral is out there, where it’s located, and its condition,” said FKNMS science coordinator Scott Donahue. “Though significant natural recovery of elkhorn and staghorn has yet to be documented, the good news is that these corals are still here and their numbers are holding steady.”

UNCW research indicates that long-spined sea urchins, important seaweed grazers, also appear to be on the slow road to recovery. Disease ravaged urchins in Florida and the Caribbean in the early1980s, killing massive numbers of the species.

“Although long-spined sea urchin densities are almost 100 times less than their levels in the early 1980s, we have documented a slow, but steady increase in their numbers and sizes,” said UNCW researcher Mark Chiappone.

Results indicate that urchin sizes have noticeably increased in the past 20 years and researchers anticipate that with time, increasing urchin numbers and sizes may help corals to recover on reefs with abundant seaweed cover.

Research support was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, National Marine Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Act Section 6 Funding, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and UNCW’s Aquarius Reef Base.

OCS Sea Urchin First Aid kit…everything you need for on the spot first aid from stepping on a sea urchin..Don’t get stung without it !!