Jellyfish invasion hits north sea coast

3rd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

An army of jellyfish have surfaced near the city of Kiel on Germany's Baltic Sea, much to the consternation of scientists

Thousands of Jellyfish of the species Aurelia Aurita, or moon jellyfish, have gathered in unprecedented numbers on the Kieler Foerde, the fjord running from the open sea up to the German port city.

The creatures are quite common in the Mediterranean and Europe's Atlantic coast where water is warm but are unusual in the baltic, which is is protected from the gulf stream and far colder.

The effects of climate change have seen a slight warming in sea temperatures, which is a possible reason for their otherwise mysterious appearance. 

The UK met office, one of the world's leading climate change centres, predicts that sea levels will rise by around a centimeter a year thanks to melting ice and thermal expansion.

Marine biologist Prof. Ulrich Sommer of Kiel's Liebniz Institute told Deutsche Presse Agentur, " We have never encountered this phenomena before."

The last few weeks have seen thousands of the jellyfish washing up on the coasts of southern Spain and France but in far larger numbers than usual.

Bathers are advised to be cautious when entering water which may have jellyfish in. Most deliver only a minor sting which can be chemically treated but there are species with toxins which can cause serious harm if not dealt with swiftly.


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