Jellyfish are taking over the oceans: Population surge as rising acidity of world’s seas kills predators

Britain’s beaches could soon be inundated with records numbers of jellyfish, marine experts warned today.

Scientists say the number of jellyfish are on the rise thanks to the increasing acidity of the world’s oceans.

The warning comes in a new report into ocean acidification – an often overlooked side effect of burning fossil fuel.

Studies have shown that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doesn’t just trigger climate change but can make the oceans more acid.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, acidity levels of the oceans have gone up 30 per cent, marine biologists say.

The new report, published by the UN Environment Programme during the Climate Change talks in Cancun, Mexico, warns that the acidification of oceans makes it harder for coral reefs and shellfish to form skeletons – threatening larger creatures that depend on them for food.

David Derbyshire, Daily Mail, 3 December 2010. Full article.

1 Response to “Jellyfish are taking over the oceans: Population surge as rising acidity of world’s seas kills predators”


  1. 1 Jean-Pierre Gattuso 7 December 2010 at 06:25

    The UNEP report cites the paper of Attrill et al. (2007) to support the statement that “Ocean acidification has also been tentatively linked to increased jellyfish numbers”. The conclusion of this paper has been challenged by Haddock (2008) and Richardson and Gibbons (2008). Note also that the jellyfish Aurelia labiata is quite tolerant to ocean acidification.

    The claim that jellyfish are taking over the oceans due to rising acidity therefore appears to be unfounded.

    References

    Attrill, M.J. and Edwards, M. (2008). Reply to Haddock, S.H.D. Reconsidering evidence for potential climate-related increases in jellyfish. Limnology and Oceanography, 53, 2763-2766.

    Attrill, M.J., Wright, J. and Edwards, M. (2007). Climate-related increases in jellyfish frequency suggest a more gelatinous future for the North Sea. Limnology and Oceanography, 52, 480-485.

    Haddock, S.H.D. (2008). Reconsidering evidence for potential climate-related increases in jellyfish. Limnology and Oceanography, 53, 2759-2762.

    Richardson, A.J. and Gibbons, M.J. (2008). Are jellyfish increasing in response to ocean acidification? Limnology and Oceanography, 53, 2035–2040.

    Winans, A.K. and Purcell, J.E. (2010). Effects of pH on asexual reproduction and statolith formation of the scyphozoan, Aurelia labiata. Hydrobiologia, 645, 39–52.


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