Please Explain: Jellyfish

Friday, August 22, 2008

From Spain to New York, jellyfish are becoming more numerous, and they’re showing up in places where they have rarely been seen before. Scientists say this explosion can be attributed to a combination of overfishing, rising sea temperatures, and pollution. Find out all about jellyfish, why they’re thriving, and whether their rise is signaling the ocean’s decline. Dr. Jennifer E. Purcell is a Marine Scientist at Shannon Point Marine Center and Adjunct Professor at Western Washington University; Dr. Monty Graham is Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at University of South Alabama and Senior Marine Scientist at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Weigh in: Have you noticed more jellyfish than usual at NYC-area and NJ beaches? Has it affected your swimming habits?


Dr. Monty Graham

Comments [14]


Jellyfish can be cooked, and are quite delicious. I am wondering if the type in the NY waters are the edible type. Then we could simply start to deplete their numbers through fishing?

Aug. 22 2008 02:31 PM
Gene from NYC

John Smith was stung by a jellyfish in the Chesapeake c. 1608 and almost died. By evening he had recovered enough to eat the jellyfish for dinner.

All tales of John Smith, of course, are to be taken with a grain of sea-salt.

Aug. 22 2008 01:57 PM
Cesar from Upper East Side

I've seen the pistachio-sized clear gelatinous nodules at Bridgehampton. Thousands of them. Some have little, dark sperm-shaped critters in the center. Could they be fish eggs?

Aug. 22 2008 01:53 PM
Sarah from NYC

The clear jellyfish on NYC beaches caller Charlie was wondering about are called "moon jellyfish" i think. They look kind of like clear, gelatinous sand dollars.

Aug. 22 2008 01:53 PM
Gene from NYC

Re: Treatments for jellyfish

Dr. Oz on Oprah just had this question(!) He claimed vinegar was best.

Our local lore says meat tenderizer--something that had been on Dr. Oz's list, but dismissed.

Aug. 22 2008 01:47 PM
Gene from NYC

I see I wasn't clear: Is the a relationship between the invasion of jellyfish and "swimmer's itch?"

Aug. 22 2008 01:43 PM
Gene from NYC

Re: Jim's question on itchiness:

We've had a recent invasion on the LI Sound near Westport.

Concurrently, people have been complaining about "swimmer's itch," which has been a periodic issue in the area in past years.

Aug. 22 2008 01:41 PM
Jim from NYC

If you're in the ocean NEAR a jellyfish, can you feel itchy or uncomfortable just from being nearby? do you need actual contact from a jellyfish to be stung?

Aug. 22 2008 01:33 PM
rob from brooklyn

I've been seeing jellies in the GOWANUS CANAL. If they can survive there, they are pretty amazing creatures.

Aug. 22 2008 01:32 PM
Lisa from NJ

Clear hockey puck sized jelly fish were thick on the beach and in the water on the Jersey Shore last weekend.

Aug. 22 2008 01:29 PM
Vela from Amityville, NY

We anchor our sailboat in a cove on the North side of Gilgo Beach, well away from the ocean. We been seeing the same very large maroon-colored jellyfish in the cove that are normally only seen in the ocean. Of those seasoned boater who've anchored here for decades, no one can recall these creatures in the cove before. The small, clear jellyfish seem to be more abundant than ever this year, as well.. many of them seemed to be dead this past weekend.

Aug. 22 2008 01:03 PM
Kira from Astoria

I have been swimming in the Long Island Sound since I was a baby. The jellyfish have always shown up some years and not others, but this year there were lots, and they were big! I wasn't sure that the red / purples are poisonous but got out of the water quickly. Later my aunt told me she got stung by the same kind. Good thing I trusted my instints!

Aug. 22 2008 12:52 PM
John Weber from Bradley Beach, NJ

Jellyfish are becoming a problem in Barnegat Bay here in NJ. Check out thie funny video made by . See the one called restaurant.

Aug. 22 2008 12:15 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn

I've been swimming at Brighton & Coney a lot for the past 3 or 4 summers, and this summer is the first time I've seen jellyfish!! They're all over the place. Most of them are the harmless clear kind, but my friend got stung by a purple one.

Aug. 22 2008 10:48 AM

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