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Why Are There So Many Jellyfish? - Eastern US Weather Forums

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Why Are There So Many Jellyfish?


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#1 Dave

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 07:24 AM

I know that this is not specifically a weather related topic, but does anyone know why there have been so many jellyfish along the Mid-Atlantic Coast this summer. I've lived in VA Beach for ten years and I've never seen the so many of these organisms. I know that a persistent onshore flow can bring them towards the beaches but the numbers have been exceptional this year.

#2 Schinz

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 07:47 AM

We go to the jersey shore at Brigantine, just North of Atlantic City, and there have been almost no jelly fish this whole season. I am shocked to hear you say that for Va Beach!!

#3 Billabong13138

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 08:23 AM

I dont mind the jellyfish as much as I do the sea lice. Them suckers are small as hell and are clear making them impossible to see. They hurt because they cause a quick, intense itch and normally there are a lot of them. Jellyfish will have a hard time getting to your most "sensative" areas... sea lice never has a problem getting there. I would rather have tons of jellyfish than them things.

#4 Cool Spruce

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 08:35 AM

I am privileged to have neither.

There is a species of non-tendril jellyfish that sometimes gets stranded on the rock, at high tide, and may be in the sun for hours before the rising tide rescues it. I never have found out whether these jellyfish survive this.

#5 EastBayWx

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 08:50 AM

I occasionally see the Jellyfish swimming in the relatively warm waters of Narragansett Bay but they are pretty rare at the beaches. We had an outbreak of Portuguese Men-of-War here 2 summers ago but haven't seen them anymore either. The biggest nuisance sea creature in these parts is the hideous spider crab. I once saw one with a 2 foot long leg span when I fell off my windsurfing board in the western part of Narragansett Bay where it meets Greenwich Bay. Still get shivers up my spine when I think about that crab.

#6 mitchnick

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:03 AM

There wer a fair amount of jellyfish in Kitty Hawk this past week, but at the same time, I've never seen the water so clear. You were able to easily see minnows and fish swimming in the surf. Pretty neat.

#7 Ginx snewx

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:08 AM

 EastBayWx, on Aug 9 2008, 09:50 AM, said:

I occasionally see the Jellyfish swimming in the relatively warm waters of Narragansett Bay but they are pretty rare at the beaches. We had an outbreak of Portuguese Men-of-War here 2 summers ago but haven't seen them anymore either. The biggest nuisance sea creature in these parts is the hideous spider crab. I once saw one with a 2 foot long leg span when I fell off my windsurfing board in the western part of Narragansett Bay where it meets Greenwich Bay. Still get shivers up my spine when I think about that crab.

Looks like they have invaded the south shore this year in RI

Jellyfish invade our shores By Gloria Russell / The Westerly Sun
Posted Image Jellyfish are inflicting painful stings on swimmers along the shore from Rhode Island to New York.

The jellyfish that have drifted to the Northeast on warm water currents are accidental tourists who are inflicting painful stings on swimmers along the shore from Rhode Island to New York.

The influx of these marine invertebrates, which can be found in every ocean in the world and even in some fresh water, hasn’t reached a critical stage and they won’t hang around long, but local lifeguards say they are definitely here.

When humans come into contact with jellyfish the stinging cells in the tentacle fire off a little harpoon that goes into the skin and releases toxins before working its way out. And there is apparently relatively little humans can do to relieve the pain.

Non-fatal jellyfish stings are known to be extremely painful but serious stings may cause anaphylaxis and possibly result in death.

While household vinegar is recommended for jellyfish stings it is not recommended for Portuguese Man o’ War stings. Fresh water should not be used if the sting occurred in salt water, as a change in pH can cause the release of additional venom. Rubbing the wound, or using alcohol, spirits, ammonia, or urine will encourage the release of venom and should be avoided.

Once deactivated, the stinging cells must be removed and tentacles left on the body should be picked off carefully by first aid providers wearing gloves or another readily available barrier device to prevent personal injury.

Two products, StingMate, a vinegar gel with menthol, is promoted on the Internet, as well as Jellyfish Squish, reportedly endorsed by the American Lifeguard Association.

Jeff Lenihan, a 26-year lifeguard veteran and one of the lifeguard supervisors at the Misquamicut town beach, confirmed some people have complained about being stung by jellyfish but added, “We haven’t had an infestation yet but they’re here.”

“We have spray bottles with vinegar in them so when the people come up to the stands on the beach we have the vinegar right there for them,” Lenihan said. In addition to the vinegar, Lenihan said a mix of baking soda and water should be applied as soon as possible. “But what we don’t do is rub the wound or we don’t apply fresh water or ammonia because it increases the pain.” He also says, “We stay away from the rubbing alcohol down here.”

His team follows the recommendations of the American Red Cross lifeguarding manual. “Our procedures are done by the book. We go 99 percent by the book, one percent common sense.”

The 41-year-old Lenihan recommends beach goers carry a spray bottle containing vinegar with a little water in it, just in case.

He noted it is hard to tell what type of jellyfish has inflicted the pain or where they might be contacted. “Sometimes they could be a hundred yards offshore, sometimes they could be right in the break line.” Children could be stung even though they stay close to the shoreline.

Lenihan says although the jellyfish are “definitely here and some days could be worse than others, I don’t want to scare people.” But, he adds, “it’s good to have a heads up when you’re going into the water.”

Lifeguard Don Gingerella, stationed at the Ocean House property on East Beach, had reports of “at least 20 stings.” More have occurred this week.

Tom Angell, a marine fisheries biologist with the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife in Jamestown, said one of the most common and larger jellyfish seen locally are called the Lion’s Mane. This species stings, but is not as venomous or poisonous as the Portuguese Man o’ War.

The Portuguese Man o’ War is commonly confused with a jellyfish, which is incorrect, and may lead to improper treatment of stings as the venom is different. [A second sting could lead to an allergic reaction.]

This species dangles long tentacles that average three feet in length, but can be up to 33 feet long. Detached tentacles and specimens that wash ashore can sting just as painfully as the intact creature for weeks after their detachment. Medical attention is usually necessary.

Research suggests the best treatment for this sting is to apply hot water to the affected area. Ice is also effective at suppressing the pain by reducing the activity of the toxins. Additionally, ice constricts blood vessels, which reduces the speed at which the venom travels to other parts of the body.

Angell explained the jellyfish proliferation, saying, “we also get more tropical type jellyfish that do come up here during the summer as the water gets very warm, typically through August. But as the water cools in the fall they will disappear and go back toward southern water.

“Sometimes you’ll get eddy currents that spin off from the Gulf Stream and bring these more tropical species to our area than normally come in here, but like the Lion’s Mane jellyfish that’s pretty much an annual event.” The swarms of jellyfish are here mainly to feed and reproduce, he said.

Angell said his comments were an “offhand guess” without actually having seen the types of jellyfish that have invaded our coastline.

He noted there are some very dangerous jellyfish such as the box jellyfish that typically inhabit the waters around Australia. “They are very deadly.”

By the same token, Angell reported, there are plenty of harmless jellyfish around here as well. The one called “The Comb,” fairly common in this area, is not a problem as far as interaction with people goes. “They’re more of a native species that occurs here unlike those that come up in the summer from another place and leave in the fall. I think they’re here most of the time.”

While sun worshipers may know relatively little about jellyfish, the body of an adult jellyfish is made up of 94-98 percent water. [Humans are about 75 percent water] and have a life span of about 2½ months; few live longer than 6 months but one species can live as long as 30 years and another species, T Nutricula, is effectively immortal.

Jellyfish, which are really not fish, live in groups often called “a smack,” are passive drifters and slow swimmers and are capable of congregating into larger swarms or “blooms” consisting of hundreds of individuals. They depend on currents to transport them from place to place.

Jellyfish are an important source of food to the Chinese and in many Asian countries. Fisheries have begun harvesting the larger “Cannonball” jellyfish, whose toxins are innocuous to humans, along the southern Atlantic coast of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico for export to Asian nations

#8 Wacahootaman

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:40 AM

Global warming.

Jellyfish are the roaches of the sea. Their increased numbers are a sign of declining oceans.

So they say.

#9 snowdude

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:42 AM

warm water, that simple

#10 MerquryMan

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:42 AM

We get the same news stories every year when the jellyfish come, and every year there are "more of them than the last!"

:rolleyes:

#11 Whiteout

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:49 AM

 Dave, on Aug 9 2008, 08:24 AM, said:

I know that this is not specifically a weather related topic, but does anyone know why there have been so many jellyfish along the Mid-Atlantic Coast this summer. I've lived in VA Beach for ten years and I've never seen the so many of these organisms. I know that a persistent onshore flow can bring them towards the beaches but the numbers have been exceptional this year.

I am on my vacation at VA Beach and have only seen a hand full this week. We are heading out to the beach again today I hope they stay away one more day for me. What street are you on?

#12 Isotherm

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 10:06 AM

 snowdude, on Aug 9 2008, 10:42 AM, said:

warm water, that simple



"Jellyfish of various types inhabit all the world's oceans - in any marine habitat and along any coastline you can find some type of jellyfish. Jellies live in estuaries, bays, harbors, nearshore habitats, open ocean (far offshore) and even in the deep sea. They're found in tropical waters, temperate waters (like off California or the East Coast) and in cold water (Arctic and Antarctic). Many types of jellies have widespread distributions and can be found in more than one ocean (like moon and lion's mane jellies). Good places to find jellies include Monterey Bay, Puget Sound in Washington, the Gulf of Mexico, and Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast. Although the vast majority of jellyfish live in marine habitats, there is at least one jelly (the peach blossom jelly) that lives in freshwater. You can find this tiny jelly in ponds and lakes throughout the United States."



http://jellieszone.com/jelliesfaq.htm

#13 quickstep

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 11:20 AM

No jellyfish south of Boston this past week.

Maybe I encountered sea lice during a visit to Virginia Beach when I was small. No pain, but a lot of itching all over. Seems like they were in the pool, too.

I've never seen a bluebottle and hope not to.

#14 Del

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 11:23 AM

I have not seen any in the Delaware Bay as of yesterday.

I've never even hard of sea lice until now, but they do seem to explain alot

#15 gwhizkids

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 07:10 PM

Family was at Misquamicut Beach in Westerly, RI this past week. They reported many more jellyfish in the water than they're used to seeing.

#16 Dave

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 07:53 AM

 Whiteout, on Aug 9 2008, 10:49 AM, said:

I am on my vacation at VA Beach and have only seen a hand full this week. We are heading out to the beach again today I hope they stay away one more day for me. What street are you on?

Actually, I live in VA Beach. We went to the beach yesterday and there weren't any jellyfish. After living here the past ten years, I've learned a few things about the effects that wind direction has on ocean conditions. A light onshore flow keeps our surf warm as it prevents upwelling. An offshore wind pushes the warm water out to sea and brings up the cooler water from the below the surface (upwelling). From what I've seen, a southerly wind component sometimes brings in the jellyfish and also the sea weed. The most ideal conditions occur when a light NE or E wind is blowing which is what was happening yesterday. The water was clear, warm and the waves weren't that high.

#17 Whiteout

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 08:03 AM

 Dave, on Aug 10 2008, 08:53 AM, said:

Actually, I live in VA Beach. We went to the beach yesterday and there weren't any jellyfish. After living here the past ten years, I've learned a few things about the effects that wind direction has on ocean conditions. A light onshore flow keeps our surf warm as it prevents upwelling. An offshore wind pushes the warm water out to sea and brings up the cooler water from the below the surface (upwelling). From what I've seen, a southerly wind component sometimes brings in the jellyfish and also the sea weed. The most ideal conditions occur when a light NE or E wind is blowing which is what was happening yesterday. The water was clear, warm and the waves weren't that high.

Thanks for the info we are leaving today. My family and I come to VA Beach every year around the second or third week in August and in the past 5 or so years we have had perfect weather and water conditions. Now if I can only get home in time to enjoy the sever weather that is expected in MD today :)

#18 Dave

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:22 AM

There's a few thunderstorms moving though SE VA and NE NC right now (lunchtime on Sunday). I hope we get some rain. Hasn't rained this month as of yet in my neighborhood. Note that in July, I picked up 11.80 inches of rain in my backyard.

#19 mulen

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:37 AM

Western L.I sound know jellyfish but i fish with a friend off Stamford conn. and their loaded .they are the oldest form of life see ya.

#20 lantanatx

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 12:25 PM

Ocean degradation, warmer waters etc. Look for a NSF report on the issue later this year according to this NY Times article the other day.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/science/...tml?ref=science





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