Last week, Lisa-ann Gershwin, Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services and author of Stung!, called us all the way from Tasmania to talk about jellyfish. She explained that the recent surge in the global jellyfish population is more than just a pain in the neck (or side, or leg...) for beach swimmers. As it turns out jellies also pose a serious threat to our global infrastructure.
"There have been some amazing things that jellyfish have been getting up to -- behaving very, very badly," she says.
So we weren't all that surprised to see that jellyfish are making headlines again. The New York Times reported today that, "in an episode that evokes B-grade sci-fi movie plots from the 1950s," a bloom of moon jellyfish in the Baltic Sea brought down a nuclear reactor in southeastern Sweden.
The cooling system intake pipes at the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant became clogged by the otherwise innocuous animal, forcing a shut down. The plant's operator said a similar incident occurred in 2005.
The pipes have been unclogged... for now, but engineers are concerned a new jellyfish bloom could be lurking just around the corner. Cue Jaws music.