New Citizen Science project: Help researchers finding jellyfish
Where are jellyfish, and how many are there? Marine researchers call for Northern European citizens, especially from the Baltic region, to monitor the jellyfish population. Download the GoJelly- Jelly Spotter app and sign up if you see jellyfish while diving, walking along a beach, or sailing.
So far, the jellyfish population ecology has lived mainly outside the researchers' spotlight. Still, in recent years there has been more focus on them. For example, it has been shown that jellyfish mucus can trap nanoparticles or microplastic effectively or have potential as food for both animals and humans. On the less positive side, and due to a combination of overfishing and global warming, jellyfish bloom events are on the rise, with some negative impacts on marine biodiversity or coastal economy.
How jellyfish get around?
Jellyfish are plankton, meaning that their mobility is mostly dependent on the surrounding water currents, so they are transported around by ocean currents and wind. There can be considerable variations from year to year and from place to place.
"We need to gain more insights about how they get around, to become better at calculating when and where the large and potentially harmful blooms occur; so that, e.g., power plants, fishermen and bathers can get a warning," says Prof. Jamileh Javidpour, a marine biologist at the University of Southern Denmark and guest researcher at GEOMAR.
The most common jellyfish in Northern Europe
Jamileh Javidpour is also the leader of the large, pan-European research project GoJelly, behind the Jelly Spotter app. "The first version we released is for iOS users, but a further development is on our agenda for Android or computer users," she said.
Once you have downloaded it, the app contains photos of the most common jellyfish in the Baltic Sea, so you can determine the species you find on your beach or boat trip. Suppose you are not sure about the species you faced. In that case, you can upload your jellyfish picture under the "other" category to be identified later by the expert. The app can be downloaded in the Appstore and here: https://apps.apple.com/de/app/gojelly/id1498675707?l=en
Read more about GoJelly: https://gojelly.eu/