The EcoJel Project is a four year project funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Ireland Wales Programme 2007-2013 - Interreg 4A.
EcoJel is a collaboration between Swansea University (Wales) and University College Cork (Ireland). EcoJel aims to assess the opportunities and detrimental impacts of jellyfish in the Irish Sea.
Fresh water jellyfish found in Irish lake
A non-native fresh water jellyfish has been found in small numbers at three locations in Lough Derg. The jellyfish was first spotted by angler, Pat Joyce in August and then samples were collected by Inland Fisheries Ireland officers Dave Germaine & Colum Walsh. Dr Tom Doyle from the Coastal & Marine Research Centre, University College Cork confirmed the identification of the jellyfish as Craspedacusta sowerbyi and also discovered that all individuals were females.
Image of freshwater jellyfish from Lough Derg ?Tom Doyle
The jellyfish which grows no bigger than a one euro coin is transparent with a distinctive white cross in the centre and has 250-300 tentacles around the umbrella. They are not harmful to bathers at low abundances are unlikely to have a significant negative impact on the local wildlife.
Craspedacusta sowerbyi is native to the Yangtze River system in China, but during the last 130 years it has successfully colonised most continents. It is found throughout Europe and one of the first records of the species comes from Regent’s Park, London in the 1880s. Like other jellyfish it has a two stage life cycle, the polyp and the medusa, and it is thought to have travelled between countries in the polyp stage. While the presence of C. sowerbyi in Lough Derg may have a minimal impact on the local wildlife, it raises concerns about the ease with which species can now enter Ireland.
Dr Joe Caffrey of Inland Fisheries Ireland led a team of researchers to determine the abundance and distribution of the jellyfish in L. Derg on 28th August, in collaboration with Dr Dan Minchin from Lough Derg Science Group and Dr Tom Doyle of UCC.