Copenhagen / Kiel / Wilhelmshaven (DPA) – There are many jellyfish on some Baltic Sea beaches this summer – and not just harmless ones like Cortis and Moon jellyfish. “Fire jellyfish are quick,” says Jamileh Javidpour, a professor at the University of Sydney (Denmark) and scientist at the Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel. Actually, they cannot be expected from mid to end of July. “This year is jellyfish year.”
Theis Wolfhagen, managing director of Schleswig-Holstein’s DLRG, also noted an increase in the number of jellyfish. “As is often the case in the Baltic Sea, a greater number of jellyfish may be seen in the area near the coast this summer than in the North Sea coast.” Since the local movement of jellyfish is largely dependent on currents and temperature layers, dependent on tides, bathers in the colder North Sea typically have fewer jellyfish than those in the Baltic Sea.
Unlike the Baltic Sea, on the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony, bathers do not have to be overly afraid of contact with slimy animals. “There is currently no significant increase in the number of jellyfish on the Lower Saxony coast,” says Imke Zwoch of the Wadden Sea National Park Administration.
The incidence of jellyfish varies from year to year. The keel marine biologist Javidpour sees one reason for a mild winter in early summer and a relatively large amount in a relatively cold spring. «Jellyfish need a temperature shock. When they are in shock, they produce a lot of jellyfish.” These can be driven into areas where conditions are better. This is why beachcomers are more than 100 meters away from a corner. Many more animals will be found.
Javidpur has been monitoring the jellyfish population in Keel Fjord for 17 years. The European Union is conducting research into the distribution and use of jellyfish in the “Gojeli” project, in which the Universities of Southern Denmark, Geomar and Kiel and the Universities of Hamburg are also participating.
Using the Jelly Spotter smartphone app, users can send pictures of jellyfish in the Baltic Sea to researchers. Will help you find out more about jellyfish populations in the western Baltic Sea. “Using the app helps us gain access to coastal areas on the Baltic Sea that we do not have access to,” says Javidpour. “The more users, the better.” Researchers also rely on drones.
The researchers want to develop models for how jellyfish events can be predicted in the future. Ideally, the app could be supplemented with the same function as early as the summer of 2022, Javidpour said. “The target is an interactive map where forecasts are possible for Ackernford Bay, Lübeck Bay and other coastal sections in Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.”
Most native jellyfish species are harmless. “The only jellyfish you have to be careful with is the fire jellyfish,” says Javidpour. Touching is at least uncomfortable, but it can also trigger an allergic reaction. Affected people should contact DLRG Lifeguard and contact their doctor.
On protected beaches, lifeguards help with symptoms to ease symptoms. “A strong burning, including a red color, is the visible and tangible result of contact with a fire jellyfish,” says Wolfhagen. Shaving cream is effective in relieving symptoms.