Portuguese Man-O-War sightings in Waterford and Cork
The last few weeks have seen around 40 individual Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish wash up along the south coast of Ireland. It should be noted that only 40 individuals have been counted, the last of which was on the 29th August in Tramore, Co. Waterford, where upwards of two dozen specimens were counted. Prior to this we had 16 sightings in Ardmore Bay, Co. and one sighting in Schull in West Cork. The strandings of these jellyfish were probably related to the gale force winds during the middle of August which may have driven them ashore.
Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish have been recorded in our coastal seas as far back as 1834. Most records of the Portuguese Man-O-War are from the south and west coasts of Ireland. If you encounter a Portuguese Man-O-War do not touch it! They have a very powerful sting and should be avoided. However, please let us know if you have seen one by using our online jellyfish sighting portal.
Recent images of Portuguese Man-O-War are courtesy of Ronan Cunningham of Ardmore Adventures and Jim Griffin and Oliver Stapleton of Waterford Harbour Sub Aqua Club.
Stung By A Jellyfish?
Have you been stung by a jellyfish? If yes, then we are interested in knowing where and when the incident happened and what treatment, if any, you received.
Simply click on our Google map tool to “Report a sting? and complete a short questionnaire. The whole process should take less than 5 minutes.
The information collected will help us determine if there are any particular hotspots or areas to avoid swimming in. It will also give us a good estimate of how many persons are stung each summer. Thank you for your time and information.
We hope you find this feature much more interactive and user friendly. Happy mapping!
EcoJel Team Meeting
All members of the EcoJel Team met in Cork Harbour to discuss jellyfish matters and research/management plans for this summer.
Important tasks this summer include more ferry surveys in collaboration with Irish Ferries, lots of aerial surveys for barrel jellyfish and more tracking studies in Carmarthen Bay and Dun Laoghaire.
In the coming weeks, some EcoJel members will participate in Northern Ireland's (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, AFBI) annual juvenile fish survey of the Irish Sea. This survey normally catches lots of jellyfish and thus provides us with an invaluable index of jellyfish abundance for the Irish Sea. We will keep you posted on how it goes!
The EcoJel team will feature on RTE's 'Living the Wildlife' series on Tuesday 12th April at 7 pm (RTE 1).
The programme is presented by the Emmy award winning wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson who spent some time with the EcoJel team in 2010 to find out about the secret lives of jellyfish. The programme will show some footage of the EcoJel team tagging the highly venomous lion's mane jellyfish!
The launch of our facebook page was a huge success with many people posting their sightings and/or great pictures on the page throughout the season.
We organised many public talks and workshops to directly engage with more people, and our work was featured in newspaper, radio shows and TV programs.
We presented (on invite) our jellyfish research to the European Parliament's Intergroup 'Seas and Coastal Affairs', a clear demonstration of the importance of our research.
We Also Conducted A Lot Of Science:
Our JellyTag programme was very successful with lots of barrel jellyfish tagged in Carmarthen Bay and the first ever tagging of the highly venomous lion's mane jellyfish in Dublin!
We began a study on the socio-economic impacts of jellyfish stings (see 'have you been stung').
18 ferry surveys were conducted in summer 2010 between Dublin and Holyhead, producing many interesting results.
Five aerial surveys for large barrel jellyfish were conducted.
We continued to collect and monitor jellyfish populations locally and throughout the Irish Sea. Key components of this monitoring are your observations and sightings!
Indeed, as a new jellyfish season is about to kick off, we would like to thank all the people who took time to report a sighting or fill in the "jellyfish sting" questionnaire. We are looking forward to your continued collaboration with us throughout the 2011 season!
Were you stung by a jellyfish this year? If yes, and you were stung in Dublin Bay or along the east coast of Ireland, then we need your help! Together with the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit in NUI Galway, the EcoJel Team are hoping to quantify the number of swimmers who have been stung (whether mildly or severely) this year.
We also will be studying the socio-economic cost of such jellyfish swarms. To help us answer these important questions we would like you to complete a simple online questionnaire that takes approximately 5 minutes. Thank you for your time and information!
Tracking The Most Venomous Jellyfish In The Irish Sea
During the last few weeks we have been investigating the behaviour of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish in Dublin Bay by attaching tags to their underside. As crazy at it sounds, tracking these jellyfish is one of the only ways we can learn how much time they spend at the surface and whether or not they are residents or just passing through. These questions are important to answer as many bathers and open water swimmers in the Dublin area have been badly stung during the last few years and more recently in the last few weeks. Indeed, a bad encounter with a Lion’s Mane may result in severe pain for 5 or 6 hours, weeping skin and back spasms.
Well the good news is that we have now managed to successfully track five Lion’s Mane Jellyfish! As it had never been done before, attaching a tag to a Lion’s Mane was an extremely difficult task. Eventually we found some way of attaching the tag to the underside of the jellyfish in amongst the hundreds of meter long tentacles.
With the help/support of Ocean Divers (www.oceandivers.ie) in Dun Laoghaire, we have now followed five individuals for up to eight hours. All individuals were tagged near the famous Forty Foot bathing spot and depending on the tide (ebb or flow), the jellyfish either went north or south along the coast. One jellyfish hugged the coastline from the Forty Foot to Bullock Harbour and along to Sorrento Point never moving more than 20 metres from shore. Another jellyfish went past the entrance to Dun Laoghaire Harbour and on towards Seapoint before heading south again with the ebbing tide.
This is a great success as only three weeks ago we had no idea of where they went and how they behaved. We now know that they these jellyfish are residents, moving about with the ebb and flow of the tide. As the jellyfish are now beginning to wash up in large numbers (they are dying off) we have stopped tagging until early next year. In the mean time, keep sending in your jellyfish sightings as each sighting plays an important part in helping us to understand their ecology.
As we are well and truly into the jellyfish season, we thought it would be a good idea to produce a map with all your recent jellyfish sightings from Facebook and our online sightings scheme.
As you can see from the map, there is a lot of activity along the east coast of Ireland especially around Dublin. It will come as no surprise that here is where several bathers have been badly stung during the last few weeks. As we head into mid-July and August, it is likely that there will be many more strandings of the Lion's Mane jellyfish, so be careful.
Again many thanks for all your sightings! They are really helping us to discover the secret lives of jellyfish.
On Sunday 4th July at 2pm Dr Tom Doyle will give a talk about jellyfish at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.
The talk is entitled “Beauty and beast: understanding jellyfish in the Irish Sea” and will inform the listener about the secret lives of jellyfish, where they come from, the different types of jellyfish and are they increasing with climate change. Dr Doyle will also talk about how best to treat a jellyfish sting.
Medical Professionals And Scientists Join Forces To Solve Jellyfish Problem
If you were badly stung by a jellyfish would you pour vinegar over the injury, or do something else? A search on Google suggests the application of: vinegar, baking soda, meat tenderiser, shaving foam, or even your own urine! With so many recommended treatments which one is the most appropriate?
In February this year, at a meeting convened by the EcoJel Team, medical experts, water safety experts and marine biologists from Ireland and Wales met in Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin) to develop ‘best practice guidelines for the treatment of jellyfish stings in Irish and UK waters’. The venue was not arbitrarily chosen – the conference room overlooked the famous Forty Foot bathing spot, where in 2005, at least three bathers were hospitalised after being badly stung by a jellyfish. As more and more swimmers were stung that year, county councils were forced to shut the beaches in the Dublin Bay area and as far south as Wexford!
During the meeting there was much discussion on what is the most suitable ointment for immediate application after being stung by a jellyfish. The overriding conclusion was that different jellyfish species require different treatments. It is not simply a case of taking the advice from Australia and applying it to Wales or Ireland. The meeting concluded by agreeing the first ever Irish-Welsh guidelines for First Aid treatment of jellyfish stings. These guidelines take into consideration the jellyfish species present, and are simple and easy to implement. Importantly, the group recommended that vinegar or urine should not be used. See ‘guidelines for First Aid treatment of jellyfish stings’ for more details.
Please note that these guidelines only apply to Irish and Welsh waters. If travelling abroad seek advice for that specific country.
On June 2nd the EcoJel Team in collaboration with TechWorks Marine Limited filmed a Lion's Mane Jellyfish in Dublin Bay. Watching the video (above) you can see its tentacles spread out in all directions, some of them up to 5 metres long, as it hunts (fishes) for plankton and other food. This rare footage shows the remarkable hunting techniques of the most venomous animal in Irish and UK waters, you can't help but be impressed!
We encountered the jellyfish when looking for large aggregations of the Common Jellyfish. We had stopped just east of Howth Head and were lowering Techworks’ ROV (remotely operated vehicle/camera) down to the seabed when we saw this Lion’s Mane Jellyfish spread out like an exploding star. Later that day, with the help of local skipper Chris from Dublin Sea Safari, we encountered a further three Lion’s Mane Jellyfish around Ireland’s Eye.
In the next few weeks we hope to acoustically track some of these Lion’s Mane Jellyfish. We have many years experience working with these dangerous creatures, so don’t try this at home!
During May 11-15th two EcoJel members joined forces with the fisheries scientists from Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s (AFBI) for their annual juvenile fish survey in the Irish Sea. This research is conducted onboard their Research Vessel ‘Corystes’.
The primary aim of this research cruise is to survey for fish larvae and juveniles (important information for assessing fish stocks), but it is also an excellent opportunity to investigate the distribution and abundance of jellyfish in the Irish Sea. Using their large sampling net we recorded aggregations of the common jellyfish off the coast between Dublin and Dundalk Bay. Some blue jellyfish, lion’s mane jellyfish and many hydromedusae were also caught in the net throughout the survey.
The second part of this survey will take place during 4-12th June allowing our team to assess how much the jellyfish have grown in this short time!
In the meantime, we are very keen to hear from you about your jellyfish sightings. If unsure what information we are looking for, please check out our sightings page or if you are a diver, download our new ‘aid to jellyfish spotting’.
Ferry surveys to map jellyfish distribution between Ireland and Wales have resumed! Perfect conditions prevailed for our first crossing between Dublin and Holyhead onboard the Irish Ferries ‘Ulysses’. A few barrel jellyfish were spotted in the middle of the crossing.
This species is the largest jellyfish species in Irish and Welsh waters with individuals measuring up to 80 cm in diameter and weighing up to 35 kg! Unlike other species they are quite robust and solid, making them good candidates for tagging studies. During summer time, barrel jellyfish form very large aggregations in Tremadoc, Carmarthen and Rosslare Bays that can be spotted from the air.
Our sightings of the species so early in the season are consistent with historical records and data from last year and tend to indicate that these jellyfish can survive from one season to another, unlike most other jellyfish.
The last few months have seen unprecedented numbers of the highly venomous Portuguese Man-O-War (a colonial jellyfish) washing up on the Welsh and Irish coasts of the Irish Sea. Normally associated with warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, these jellyfish were probably blown into our coastal waters and shores as a result of the above normal winds experienced during July and August of this year.
However, it is not unusual to see a Portuguese Man-O-War in our coastal seas, as there are many historical records dating back to early 1900s. What is unusual is to see lots of them in the Irish Sea. Most records of the Portuguese Man-O-War are from the west coast of Ireland. If you see a Portuguese Man-O-War don’t touch it! They have a very powerful sting and should be avoided. However, please let us know if you have seen one by using our online jellyfish sighting scheme.
See to the left one of the most recent sighting of a Portuguese Man-O-War. It was found by Richard O’Brien and his family (Laura and Daniel) on a rocky beach at the end of the Rush Peninsula, Dublin, during early November.
During June 10-22nd, several members of the EcoJel team enjoyed some great weather in the Irish Sea onboard the Marine Institute's Research Vessel 'Celtic Voyager'.
One of the major objectives of this Irish Sea cruise was to investigate the abundance and distribution of jellyfish using large 'jellyfish' nets and underwater cameras.
Large aggregations of the moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) were found throughout, with >600 jellyfish caught in one 10 minute net tow (equivalent of 70kg) (see image). It appears to be a bumper year for the moon jellyfish while other species such as the compass (Chrysaora hysoscella) were extremely difficult to find. The team is now back on land and investigating the results.
Prior to this cruise another EcoJel team member was investigating abundance of jellyfish onboard Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s (AFBI) Research Vessel ‘Corystes’. Importantly, this research was conducted at the same time as the juvenile gadoid survey enabling the EcoJel team to investigate the potential impact (both negative and positive) jellyfish may have on juvenile fish.
Following a successful flight at the weekend and armed with the knowledge of the jellyfish locations, the team set out to tag 31 barrel jellyfish in Carmarthen Bay. With the help of Gower Coast Adventures (www.gowercoastadventures.co.uk) all tags were successfully deployed, the biggest jellyfish measured 80cm across the bell!
The tags will provide information about the vertical movements and environment the jellyfish are living in. The tags will improve our understanding of the life history of Rhizostoma octopus species. Please keep your eyes peeled for the tags (see pictures), which might wash up on a beach near you any day!
It may be hard to believe, but jellyfish are so important that we have dedicated an entire website to them. So welcome to our jellyfish website!
Over the coming months we will have regular updates about our project and its various objectives. For now, there are plenty of pages to check out but importantly, we will welcome any feedback and suggestions via our 'contact page'.
As we move closer to the summer months, we will keep you posted on our activities and how you can help us learn more about jellyfish.