New Study Exploring Impacts and Benefits of Jellyfish

Jellyfish have been labeled as a nuisance species, likened to that of wasps, cockroaches, and others, obscuring any understanding of their value (positive, neutral, or negative) in terms of ecosystem services. In some regions of the world, jellyfish bloom size, frequency, period, and magnitude is increasing, directly effecting ecosystem services. The NCEAS Working Group, "Global expansion of jellyfish blooms: Magnitude, causes and consequences," has evaluated the benefits and costs of jellyfish, shedding light on the impacts of increased human modification and interactions with coastal ecosystems.

The positive contributions made by jellyfish include transporting carbon to greater ocean depths, serving as a food source for humans, enhancing biodiversity, and contributing to medical advances. On the negative side, jellyfish can add millions of dollars of cost to fishing and tourism industries and interrupt power and freshwater production. Increased jellyfish encounters will force societies to cope with, adapt to, and transform in response to the impact associated with this increase.

Linking human well-being and jellyfish: ecosystem services, impacts, and societal responses
William M Graham, Stefan Gelcich, Kelly L Robinson, Carlos M Duarte, Lucas Brotz, Jennifer E Purcell, Laurence P Madin, Hermes Mianzan, Kelly R Sutherland, Shin-ichi Uye, Kylie A Pitt, Cathy H Lucas, Molly B√łgeberg, Richard D Brodeur, Robert H Condon
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment DOI: 10.1890/130298

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Posted on December 19, 2014