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Posted Sun Jun 12 2011: from Guardian:
Explosion in jellyfish numbers may lead to ecological disaster, warn scientists
Global warming has long been blamed for the huge rise in the world's jellyfish population. But new research suggests that they, in turn, may be worsening the problem by producing more carbon than the oceans can cope with.... The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that while bacteria are capable of absorbing the constituent carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other chemicals given off by most fish when they die, they cannot do the same with jellyfish. The invertebrates, populating the seas in ever-increasing numbers, break down into biomass with especially high levels of carbon, which the bacteria cannot absorb well. Instead of using it to grow, the bacteria breathe it out as carbon dioxide. This means more of the gas is released into the atmosphere.... Condon's research also found that the spike in jellyfish numbers is also turning the marine food cycle on its head. The creatures devour huge quantities of plankton, thus depriving small fish of the food they need. "This restricts the transfer of energy up the food chain because jellyfish are not readily consumed by other predators," said Condon.
[Read more stories about: carbon emissions, ocean acidification, jellyfish, koyaanisqatsi, death spiral]

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'Doc Michael says:
There's a Nobel for whoever figures out how to turn jellyfish into oil.
Among the biggest predators of jellyfish? Tuna, shark, turtle. It's what's for dinner!

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