Jellyfish reporters wanted in South West Nova

Carla Allen callen@thevanguard.ca
Published on June 6, 2016

Be on the lookout for jellyfish this summer.

Dalhousie University biology grad student Bethany Nordstrom wants to hear about your experience if you see any.

She’s studying the predator-prey relationship of leatherback sea turtles and jellyfish in Atlantic Canadian waters.

She says the ocean surrounding this province is very productive, which allows jellyfish to flourish throughout the warmer months.

These jellyfish end up attracting one of the largest foraging populations of leatherback sea turtles in the Atlantic.

“The leatherback is an endangered species in Canada, and they migrate to our waters to feed exclusively on jellyfish,” said Nordstrom. “We don’t really know a lot about the jellyfish themselves, so that’s where my research comes in.”

Nordstrom is trying to figure out the jellyfish seasonality and distribution throughout Nova Scotia waters and what drives those patterns.

The most common species found in Atlantic waters are moon jellyfish, lion’s mane jellyfish and white cross jellyfish.

There are also other gelatinous organisms found in our waters that technically aren’t jellyfish, but are quite similar, such as ctenophores (commonly referred to as comb jellies or sea gooseberries) and salps.

With the help of reports, Nordstrom hopes to determine if species that are traditionally associated with warmer climates are beginning to move further north.

“That is one of the things we are hoping to figure out with this project. For instance, lion’s mane jellyfish are associated with colder water temperatures – will their range and distribution adjust with warmer climates? It will be interesting to see what reports we get,” she said.

Email  and include: location, date, time, how many you saw, species or a description, approximate size and a photo if possible.

Or you can enter the jellyfish observations online.