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The Relation of Climate Change and

Laila Salgado



Introduction:


Climate change is altering ecosystems across the planet, and the ocean is no exception. One intriguing yet often overlooked consequence of climate change is its profound impact on marine life, specifically the flourishing and rise of jellyfish populations. As our planet warms, ocean carbon absorption increases and temperatures shift, creating an environment conducive to the proliferation of these glowing sea jellies. In this article, we will explore the consequences of climate change on jellyfish populations and the cascading effects on marine ecosystems.


Warming Oceans:


A primary driver behind the surge in jellyfish populations is the rise in sea temperatures. This warming trend benefits jellyfish in several ways. Firstly, it accelerates their reproductive and growth rates, allowing them to thrive in environments where other species may struggle. Secondly, warmer waters provide a more favorable habitat for jellyfish polyps, the stationary stage of their life cycle, contributing to jellyfish population blooms.


Ocean Acidification:


Climate change is also altering the chemistry of our oceans. The absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans produces carbonic acid and leads to ocean acidification. While many marine species struggle to adapt to more acidic conditions, jellyfish appear to be persevering. Their bodies are simple and adaptable, making them well-suited to thrive under the changing ocean conditions including acidification, giving them a competitive advantage over other ocean organisms that are more sensitive to pH changes.


Ecological and Human Impact:


Jellyfish play a vital role in marine ecosystems, but too many of them can disrupt the delicate balance of nature. Sea jellies prey on fish eggs and larvae, impacting fish populations and potentially leading to the decline of commercially important species. The surge in jellyfish populations poses a significant threat to fisheries. Jellyfish can outcompete fish for food resources and can damage fishing equipment. This would have a large economic impact on humans, affecting both large-scale commercial fisheries and smaller, community-based operations. Additionally, the boom in jellyfish populations has increased their interactions with humans, clogging power plants and taking over tourist attractions.


An interesting benefit:


While the surplus of jellyfish in our oceans has many detrimental effects, we do not want to villainize these lovely sea creatures. Jellyfish remain an essential part of the ocean ecosystem, and their rising numbers may have an unexpected plus for our fight against plastic pollution. One group, GoJelly, is researching ways to use jellyfish mucus to capture nanoparticles like microplastics.


Conclusion:


As we grapple with the consequences of global warming, addressing the challenges posed by the rising levels of sea jellies becomes paramount. The impact of climate change on jellyfish populations is not only an environmental concern but also a glaring display of human impact on our surrounding ecosystems. It is essential that we mitigate climate change and take collective action to ensure the health and sustainability of our oceans.


Citations

1. Bosch-Belmar, M., Milisenda, G., Basso, L., Doyle, T. K., Leone, A., & Piraino, S. (2020). Jellyfish Impacts on Marine Aquaculture and Fisheries. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, 29(2), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/233082...

2. Climate change may bring acidic oceans full of jellyfish. (n.d.). Big Think. https://bigthink.com/life/jell...

3. GoJelly | a gelatinous solution to plastic pollution. (n.d.). https://gojelly.eu/

4. Mathiesen, K. (2015, August 21). Are jellyfish going to take over the oceans? | Karl Mathiesen. The Guardian; The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/en...

5. Not Feeling the Heat: Jellyfish Thriving in Warm Waters. (2019, December 4). Earth.org - Past | Present | Future. https://earth.org/not-feeling-..

. 6. Pexels. (n.d.). Free Stock Photos. Pexels.com; Pexels. https://www.pexels.com/

7. Shukla, P. (n.d.). As Oceans Warm, Jellyfish Swarm. Forbes. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/p


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