Missing Jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Missing Jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay

Updated:

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Susan Meredith said if there is one thing she normally does for all the customers renting her boats at Blackwater Paddle and Pedal along the Choptank River in Cambridge, "We send them right up river.  They don't want to see any sea nettles, they are scared to death of them."

That's because just upriver, the water isn't salty enough for the jellies, and they are nowhere to be seen.  But this year she doesn't have to do that, because there are not any to be seen anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay or its tributaries like the Choptank.

Jacqueline Tay, a student at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, has been studying the local sea nettle species, chrysaora quinquecirrha, for several years.  She said when she started, sea nettles were a common sight in the river.

"Every time you would go out there would be anywhere from 30 to 300 jellyfish in a small area.  And it's been low since then," Tay said.

And when sea nettles are low, it usually comes with a price.

"They eat zooplankton, they eat copopods, the same food that fish eat.  They also eat another jellyfish in the bay called the ctenophore.  The prevailing thought is that if there aren't many sea nettles, then there are a lot of ctenophores.  And that's a bad thing for the ecosystem." explained Tay.

Bad because the ctenophores eat considerably more zooplankton, leaving less food for the fish.  But good news, they are nowhere to be found either.

While it may sound like a crisis, the head of the jellyfish program at Horn Point, Dr. Raleigh Hood, thinks it's just a cycle.

"We don't have any evidence to suggest that there's links between year to year in terms of population size.  as far as we know, the population we have this year and how big it will be next year are largely independent of each other," Hood said.

So for this year, swimmers in the bay get a free pass, and Susan Meredith is glad to hear it.

"I'm glad.  The less jellyfish, the more swimming, the more people want to go out on the water," Meredith said. "You know it scares people out of the water when they see that or take their family tubing.  It deters people so I'm absolutely thrilled."

"Good year to be a swimmer on the Chesapeake Bay," Hood said.

There are a few theories on where the jellyfish are.  Some hypothesize the cold spring killed off a large portion of the jellyfish, and some think that perhaps they are farther north.  The scientists are working, as they always have, to find out more about this mysterious species that seems to be missing in the chesapeake bay.


  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Climate Change Threatens Biden Beach House

    Climate Change Threatens Biden Beach House

    Tuesday, September 17 2019 5:47 PM EDT2019-09-17 21:47:06 GMT
    Tuesday, September 17 2019 5:47 PM EDT2019-09-17 21:47:37 GMT
    One flooding model shows Joe Biden's North Shores home and others in the community completely underwater in 80 years.More
    One flooding model shows Joe Biden's North Shores home and others in the community completely underwater in 80 years.More
  • Clay Conaway Trial Continues, Accuser Takes Stand

    The Alleged Victim of the Clay Conaway Rape Trial Took the Stand

    Tuesday, September 17 2019 6:36 PM EDT2019-09-17 22:36:58 GMT
    Tuesday, September 17 2019 9:36 PM EDT2019-09-18 01:36:06 GMT
    The second day in the State vs. Clay Conaway trial began with testimony from the woman accusing the former University of Delaware pitcher of first-degree rapeMore
    The second day in the State vs. Clay Conaway trial began with testimony from the woman accusing the former University of Delaware pitcher of first-degree rape.More
  • Seaford 911 Center Loses Employees

    Seaford 911 Center Loses Employees

    Tuesday, September 17 2019 8:02 PM EDT2019-09-18 00:02:30 GMT
    Tuesday, September 17 2019 8:07 PM EDT2019-09-18 00:07:34 GMT
    SEAFORD, DE-Since the City of Seaford announced its plans to shut down the 911 center and redirect calls to the Emergency Operations Center in Georgetown, two dispatchers have quit and four others are eyeing other agencies.More
    SEAFORD, DE-Since the City of Seaford announced its plans to shut down the 911 center and redirect calls to the Emergency Operations Center in Georgetown, two dispatchers have quit and four others are eyeing other agencies. More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Smyrna Police Examine Whether Remains Found at Softball Field Match Missing Child Cases Outside Town

    Smyrna Police Examine Whether Remains Found at Softball Field Match Missing Child Cases Outside Town

    Monday, September 16 2019 7:17 PM EDT2019-09-16 23:17:58 GMT
    Tuesday, September 17 2019 7:18 AM EDT2019-09-17 11:18:35 GMT
    An area where police say the remains of a child appear to have been discovered last week.An area where police say the remains of a child appear to have been discovered last week.
    An area where police say the remains of a child appear to have been discovered last week.An area where police say the remains of a child appear to have been discovered last week.
    SMYRNA, Del. --- The Smyrna Police Department on Monday said it is conferring with other police departments around the region to determine whether human remains discovered last week at the Little Lass softball fields match any missing child cases outsideMore
    The Smyrna Police Department on Monday said it is conferring with other police departments around the region to determine whether human remains discovered last week at the Little Lass softball fields match any missing child cases outside More
  • Woman Dies in Millsboro Crash

    Woman Dies in Millsboro Crash

    Tuesday, September 17 2019 7:30 AM EDT2019-09-17 11:30:58 GMT
    Tuesday, September 17 2019 7:30 AM EDT2019-09-17 11:30:58 GMT
    Delaware State Police are investigating a Monday morning single-vehicle crash in Millsboro that claimed the life of a 20-year-old woman.More
    Delaware State Police are investigating a Monday morning single-vehicle crash in Millsboro that claimed the life of a 20-year-old woman. More
  • Two Kent County Shootings Under Investigation by Delaware State Police

    Two Kent County Shootings Under Investigation by Delaware State Police

    Tuesday, September 17 2019 10:35 AM EDT2019-09-17 14:35:04 GMT
    Tuesday, September 17 2019 1:30 PM EDT2019-09-17 17:30:40 GMT
    Delaware State Police are currently investigating two shooting incidents that happened Monday evening in Kent County. One of the shootings left a woman injured.More
    Delaware State Police are currently investigating two shooting incidents that happened Monday evening in Kent County. One of the shootings left a woman injured.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices