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Posted Sun Jul 4 2010: from The Smithsonian Magazine:
Jellyfish: The Next King of the Sea
All around the world, jellyfish are behaving badly--reproducing in astonishing numbers and congregating where they've supposedly never been seen before. Jellyfish have halted seafloor diamond mining off the coast of Namibia by gumming up sediment-removal systems. Jellies scarf so much food in the Caspian Sea they're contributing to the commercial extinction of beluga sturgeon--the source of fine caviar. In 2007, mauve stinger jellyfish stung and asphyxiated more than 100,000 farmed salmon off the coast of Ireland as aquaculturists on a boat watched in horror. The jelly swarm reportedly was 35 feet deep and covered ten square miles. Nightmarish accounts of "Jellyfish Gone Wild," as a 2008 National Science Foundation report called the phenomenon, stretch from the fjords of Norway to the resorts of Thailand...Nobody knows exactly what's behind it, but there's a queasy sense among scientists that jellyfish just might be avengers from the deep, repaying all the insults we've heaped on the world's oceans.... At 39 degrees Fahrenheit, the polyps generated, on average, about 20 teeny jellyfish. At 46 degrees, roughly 40. The polyps in 54-degree seawater birthed some 50 jellies each, and one made 69. A new record, Widmer says, awed.
[Read more stories about: dead zones, jellyfish, koyaanisqatsi, massive die-off, ocean warming]

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Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.

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