Note — Jun 21, 2020

You Might Hate Jellyfish. But Almost Everything in the Ocean Depends on Them (and We Do Too)

Seen in → No.131

Source →

This is the type of piece I often simply put in the asides but it’s worth a closer look because a) it contradicts the quick takes I’ve seen on the “scourge” and growing numbers of jellyfish and b) it hints at something I’ll be paying more attention to, i.e.: “[I]ncreasingly, we understand that the ocean is made up of moving forests. Unlike land or coastal habitats, the ecosystems of the open ocean can travel. Protecting the oceans means reimagining conservation in three dimensions.”

Polyps live mostly on hard underwater surfaces (including the ever-increasing number of docks and human-made structures). They produce jellyfish only when conditions are right. You wouldn’t know from reading the news, but in some areas jellyfish numbers are actually decreasing. People notice jellyfish at the beaches or near the coast. […]

Humans may be shocked by the many ways in which jellyfish now interfere with our lives, in one way or another. But other animals depend on them and will suffer from a declining jellyfish population. […]

A study published last year documented more than 86 fish species that live at least part of their lives with jellyfish – more than 2/3 of these species are commercially important. What jellyfish lack in substance, they make up for in quantity.