mm419: At last! Jellyfish found to be useful

MUDGE’s Musings

Global climate change. Is it reality? Is it soft-headed hype?

I’m thinking that reality is more and more likely. Believe that the residents of the flooded Midwestern U.S. might be more inclined to agree with that assessment today than they might have a few weeks ago. The residents of New Orleans and the nearby Gulf Coast, still hard at work rebuilding three years on, might have by this time become convinced in the reality of global warming.

We cover climate change occasionally in this space. Just the other day we blasted a story from last September, now unaccountably missing from the archives, but preserved here, noting melting of Arctic ice sufficient to open the until-then speculative Northwest Passage. Earlier, a dissenting view, in an analysis of whether the phenomenon of global warming truly exists.

In fact, so extensive is the scientific discussion around this issue, the estimable Arts & Letters Daily recently spun off a fascinating Climate Debate Daily that has joined its parent in our blogroll.

Never had much enthusiasm for jellyfish. Toured an aquarium a few years ago (Long Beach? Boston? New Orleans?) that had a specialization in same, although current on line evidence won’t verify that. I don’t swim in ocean beaches where jellyfish are a danger (although I did as a vacationing child in Miami Beach).

All in all, don’t think of them much. And I guess I don’t think much of them.

Spotted this story, courtesy of another useful sight, SciTechDaily, another link that you’ll find in our sidebar. The lowly jellyfish, is rushing to fill a void in the food chain, and is perhaps the beneficiary of the warming oceans.

discoverynews

Jellyfish Booms Signal Ecosystems Out of Whack

Jerome Cartillier, AFP

June 18, 2008 — The dramatic proliferation of jellyfish in oceans around the world, driven by overfishing and climate change, is a sure sign of ecosystems out of kilter, warn experts.

“Jellyfish are an excellent bellwether for the environment,” explains Jacqueline Goy, of the Oceanographic Institute of Paris. “The more jellyfish, the stronger the signal that something has changed.”

Brainless creatures composed almost entirely of water, the primitive animals have quietly filled a vacuum created by the voracious human appetite for fish.

Dislodging them will be difficult, marine biologists say.

“Jellyfish have come to occupy the place of many other species,” notes Ricardo Aguilar, research director for Oceana, a international conservation organization.

It’s no surprise that many species of fish have been over-harvested. We recently saw that Pacific salmon are in trouble this year. What’s interesting is that nature, as always, abhorring a vacuum, has filled the oceans with an abundance of jellyfish, who no longer have to compete with vertebrates for the plankton they feed upon. And the warmer water helps too.

Climate change has also been a boon to these domed gelatinous creatures in so far as warmer waters prolong their reproductive cycles.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Jellyfish Booms Signal Trouble : Discovery News : Discovery Channel

I get regular mailings from the environmental activist organization quoted in the above story: Oceana. In an article on Oceana’s site from a couple of years ago, while devoting some interesting space to descriptions of jellyfish, they blame the then current overabundance of same on commercial fishing fleets inadvertently catching the loggerhead turtles that prey on them. Commercial fishing seems to be the common denominator, as well as the warming oceans.

About today’s headline. I say useful, as a new symptom of trouble ahead; useful, but not edible, sadly.

Jellyfish are not part of any food group, folks. No one’s mom is going to make her a peanut butter and jellyfish sandwich any time soon. Like carbon in the atmosphere, jellyfish in record quantities does not bode well for our global quality of life.

Might be time to pay attention.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE
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