Jellyfish are causing mayhem as pollution, climate change see numbers boom
By Hong Jiang and Sasha Fegan for Late Night Live
ABC News Australia - Jan 5, 2019
Jellyfish have been around for at least 500 million years — they're older than dinosaurs and even trees.
Science writer Juli Berwald calls them "ghosts from the true garden of Eden".
"An intelligence of a sort has allowed them to make it through the millennia," she says.
And they're not going anywhere.
In fact, the brainless, spineless, eyeless, bloodless creatures are booming in numbers — and causing mayhem around the world.
Their propensity to breed fast and prolifically means jellyfish can disrupt ocean ecosystems in a flash.
And their effects aren't contained to the sea.
In places like Sweden, Israel, the US and the Philippines, power plants have been affected by blooms of jellyfish.
"So many jellyfish were swept into the power system … that it shut down the power system through much of this one island in the Philippines," Ms Berwald says.
Jellyfish have also caused plants to shut down in Japan.
"One jellyfish scientist from Japan told me that the first threat to the electric system in Japan is earthquakes, but the second is jellyfish," Berwald says.
"We are dealing with a ubiquitous creature."
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