The UK Jellyfish Survey

02nd August, 2017

Jellyfish are a bit like Marmite of the swimming world. Some people love them, the way they elegantly move through the water, the beautiful colours, the different varieties that visit UK shores and how they arrive in large blooms as summer arrives. However, as many UK jellyfish can leave a mild sting, swimmers also loathe them.

Love them or loathe them, you can help out the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) this summer by recording them! The MCS want to learn more about what is happening to jellyfish populations in UK seas. If you visit the seaside, walk along beaches, swim, dive or sail – you can help.

“Little is known about jellyfish in UK waters, but we do know that they are the staple diet of the threatened leatherback turtle,” says the MCS. “These spectacular reptiles are seasonal visitors to UK seas, migrating from their tropical nesting beaches, and analyses of stomach contents of dead leatherbacks stranded on UK shores have revealed that they feed on several species of British jellyfish. By comparing the distribution of jellyfish with environmental factors such as sea temperature, plankton production and current flow, we hope to understand what influences the seasonal distribution of jellyfish in UK waters.”

Photo by Tiphaine on Unsplash

The MCS want you to record jellyfish stranding on UK beaches or jellyfish swarms in UK waters. You can download a free Jellyfish Identification Guide from the MCS website, but once washed up they can be difficult to identify. If possible take photos and remember some jellyfish can sting, so:

  • Never touch jellyfish with bare hands
  • Always use a stick or wear arm length rubber gloves if you need to turn them over for identification
  • Beware of the stinging tentacles and keep your face and any exposed skin well clear
  • Seek medical attention in the case of a severe sting

For more information visit the MCS website