Monday, November 11, 2013

Jellyfish Bloom in Howe Sound November 2013

It has been noticed that recently there has been a bloom of Jellyfish in Howe Sound near Squamish. Many have been seeking an explanation.

 This is the Moon jellyfish (Aurelia). It feeds on any floating organic matter which can range from decaying flotsam such as the left overs from fish like our pink salmon, pollution from humans like sewage, to natural seasonal plankton. They are common all up our coast, including pristine waters.

Their population is greatest in the fall where they are found feeding on the phytoplankton/zooplankton bloom. However the plankton bloom can be especially high where there is an extra amount of suspended organic matter in the water. And yes their population can increase with an increase in water temperature. Remember that we have had an unusually warm summer and fall temperatures this year....They are in greatest numbers in the fall rather than in the spring because of the higher ocean lag temperature..... So the reason is complex and may or may not be a cause for alarm, given all these factors!

We are not always the culprit and nature has still lots of checks and balances. She/he has been at it for a very long time.

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