September 25, 2022

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3 shipwrecks may be factor in surge of jellyfish off Hawaii’s Waikiki

A new study from the University of Hawaii is serving to solve some of the mysteries close to the state’s growing box jellyfish population — 1 that may perhaps be partly joined to a number of shipwrecks off Waikiki Beach.

Box jellyfish are between nature’s most quietly dangerous sea creatures. Some species of the ephemeral, translucent jellyfish can provide strong stings. The venom can be deadly to people, generating them a perilous hazard on popular Hawaii beaches. Because the 1980s, the box jellyfish popular has boomed, and they’ve sometimes washed ashore in such alarming numbers that Hawaii officials have closed seashores as a precaution.

The University of Hawaii review began over a decade back in an attempt to uncover why these mass beachings have come to be extra regular off Honolulu. “From 1994 to the present, the as soon as sporadic aggregations and beachings have now transpired just about every lunar cycle for at least 2 days throughout the period of 8–12 days immediately after every full moon,” the review uncovered. 

An underwater image of a box jellyfish.

Schatzif/Getty Photos/iStockphoto

The motive for the increase, researchers say, is that the total number of box jellyfish has grown significantly over the final 10 years. Whereas when a handful of jellies washed ashore, now a lot of far more are getting their way toward hugely trafficked shorelines. The analyze points to “three big metal shipwrecks” that may possibly have aided in a populace increase. The shipwrecks, the YO-257 in 1989, the San Pedro in 1996 and the Sea Tiger in 1999, now sit at the base of Mamala Bay. There, they have grow to be artificial reefs for the nearby wildlife, such as jellyfish. The study notes that other areas globally have witnessed jellyfish will increase in locations with shipwrecks.

The examine also posits that human-driven decreases in the inhabitants of sea turtles and fish may also be contributing to climbing box jellyfish colonies. 

Skyscrapers cast shadows on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Skyscrapers solid shadows on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

darekm101/Getty Photographs/Room RF

To check their theories, scientists sailed out regularly to carry out complicated jellyfish censuses. “Analysis of this form is really difficult owing to logistical problems included with offshore nighttime monitoring and sampling,” the research claims. “Capturing the organisms with nets is challenging simply because the bodies are fragile and could be broken or wrecked by nets.”


Venomous box jellyfish can trigger trauma or dying incredibly rapidly. A major sting from their tentacles can induce cardiac arrest within minutes. The analyze warns that holding fatal jellyfish and eager beach front-goers aside may possibly current a “significant challenge” heading ahead in the Waikiki spot.