IF you are down at the seaside this summer and spot a jellyfish, you could help with some vital research.
By reporting it online you will become part of the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) annual jellyfish survey. Thousands of people have taken part in previous years, building an important data set on several types of jellyfish for scientists to study. One important fact discovered is that adult barrel jellyfish seem to be able to survive British winters.
The jellyfish season has begun, so you are more likely to see them at this time of the year, with southwest England and Wales known to be jellyfish hotspots. However, Dr Peter Richardson, head of ocean recovery at the MCS, warns: “Remember, you can look, but please don’t touch the jellyfish… some have a painful sting.”
The survey started in 2013 with the aim of finding out more about where the creatures are to be found in our waters and how that affects leatherback turtles. When you get a lot of jellyfish in one area, it is called a ‘bloom’. The turtles arrive in UK waters in the summer to feed on the large numbers of jellyfish, so discovering more about where and when the blooms occur also helps scientists to find turtles.
To help people identify the jellyfish, the MCS has set up an online quiz. You can do the quiz or record your findings at www.mcsuk.org.