Calling all ocean enthusiasts! Report your jellyfish sightings this weekend, Fri 18th - Sun 20th August.
As you know it is no secret that I am absolutely obsessed with jellyfish! Let's join forces to protect our seas and marine life. From August 18th to 20th August, make a splash by reporting your jellyfish sightings to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). Spearheaded by Lizzie Daly, Wildlife Presenter and PhD Tagging Scientist and the Marine Conservation Society, this focused survey weekend will give essential data to monitor jellyfish populations. If you were looking for a good reason to head to this sea this weekend, then here it is!
Our observations help better understand these captivating creatures and contribute to vital conservation efforts. Jellyfish are some of the fasted adapting creatures on our planet and so they help to give an indication of our ocean health.
How to survey jellyfish:
- Tide times - know the tide times in your local area. In Thanet this weekend, low tides are around 8.30-9.00am and PM, with a high tide in the middle of the day around 2.30 - 3.00pm. This will determine which beaches you can access
- Check for sewage releases - sadly this is a matter of course living on the coast and there is rain forecast on Friday with lightning which can often mean heavy downpours that our water companies use as an excuse to stop treating waste water and dump raw sewage in the sea. Check Surfers Against Sewage Safer Seas App before you leave for the coast, to make sure you head to clean beaches.
- Record the location - download what3words - as the Marine Conservation Society reporting form asks for the exact location you observed them
- Take your camera - it is always amazing to photo what you're seeing and be sure to upload and tag Marine Conservation Society if you see any jellies!
- Remember SPF and water - it is due to be hot this weekend, so make sure you look after yourself out there
- Leave no trace - as always, take everything you bring away with you, leave only footprints and treat the wildlife with respect, avoiding touching the jellyfish and disturbing other creatures on the coast.
- Snorkel Safe - if you're thinking about getting into the water to witness these beauties up close, I've written a whole post about staying safe around jellyfish here.
Here's some amazing facts about jellyfish commonly found in UK waters:
Graceful and mesmerising, the Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) is a regular visitor to our shores. With their translucent bodies and delicate tentacles, they gently pulse through the water, their beauty a true gift of nature. They also fluoresce under UV light and I spent some time after dark capturing some a few weeks ago which you can see here!
Commuter of the Sea:
The Compass Jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) navigates our coastal waters, earning its name from the V-shaped markings resembling a compass rose. Its sting, though mild to most, reminds us of the importance of respectful coexistence.
Lion's Mane Jellyfish:
Behold the majestic Lion's Mane Jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), a true giant with tentacles that can stretch up to 120 feet! While a rare sight, their presence is awe-inspiring, reminding us of the diverse marine life beneath the waves.
Mauve Stinger (Pelagia noctiluca):
The enchanting Mauve Stinger, with its ethereal violet hue, possesses a unique bioluminescent ability. When disturbed, it emits a mesmerizing blue-green glow, lighting up the night waters like a celestial phenomenon, leaving a trail of luminescence in its wake.
Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo):
Behold the gentle giant of our seas, the Barrel Jellyfish. With its distinctive bell-shaped body, it can grow to astonishing sizes of up to 90 cm in diameter. Despite its size, its sting is weak, emphasising its peaceful nature amidst the ocean currents. I shared an encounter with one of these beauties on my blog earlier this week and you can see it here.
Blue Jellyfish (Cyanea lamarckii)
The Blue Jellyfish, reminiscent of a floating sapphire, is a true marvel of marine elegance. Its vibrant blue tentacles form an intricate pattern, while its translucent body lets sunlight dance through, creating an ethereal display that captures the essence of oceanic beauty.
Crystal Jellyfish (Aequorea victoria)
The elusive Crystal Jellyfish has been a rarity in UK waters, but its presence has been noted in recent years and is nothing short of magical. What sets it apart is its bioluminescent glow, which it uses not only for camouflage but also to attract prey. Its delicate radiance enchants the lucky few who catch a glimpse of its ephemeral brilliance. I have recorded sightings over the last 2 years in Walpole Bay Tidal Pool which I have written about here.
These fascinating facts highlight the incredible diversity and wonder of jellyfish species found in UK waters, inviting us to appreciate their unique qualities and the vital role they play in the marine ecosystem.
I hope this has inspired you to head out to the coast this weekend and see if you can spot any and record them. If you do, remember to share your photos on insta and tag @mcs_uk and @lizziedalywild and I'd love to get a nudge too if you're sharing!
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