‘Jellyfish Populations Increasing’ –panic … panic !!  –  will I ever be able to swim in the Ocean again?   Am I in danger of being stung by a jellyfish?      Well, worry not,  the news may not be quite as bad as it sounds.   Yes,  the headlines can be  scary – but let me try to help you.   Firstly, scientists have examined data for 45 out of the 66 ‘large marine ecosystems’ –  it sounds like a good range of data  – but the data is only 68% of the possible areas that could have  been studied.   Secondly, the results of the data show an increase of 62%.    [So here you need  to use  some maths to discover what 62% of 68% actually is – and the answer is 42%.]   So  this data actually says that  some populations of jellyfish seem to have increased by 42% in some areas of the World.

To understand all this, the questions we need to ask of this data are:   a) how much of the coastal system of the World is  “45 out of 66 large Marine Ecosystems” and is this truly representative of where human populations are having a swim??  b) when the data states that something is increasing – then the new data must be being compared to earlier surveys, and maybe we need to question the accuracy of previous studies before we start panicking.   Data also quoted in this research shows a 7% decrease in some coastal populations of jellyfish so do we believe that figure or not?    There are of course, other questions we could ask – such as – were the increases anything to do with reproductive blooms which are seasonal?

So what can you do to stay safe ?   My advice, as always, before swimming or diving in a new or strange location is to ask for advice from the locals – they should know if there is a local jellyfish problem and should be happy to help you.  Don’t forget – if you do get stung, then treat the area with vinegar.   Happy swimming, snorkelling and diving everyone !!

[See the Ocean Magic page on this website if you are interested in learning more about fascinating Jellyfish]

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