The Jellyfish Database Initiative, or JeDI, pictured, plots the location of jellyfish globally. It is the first of its kind to track how the marine creatures are distributed.
Researchers from Southampton have already used to it discover the spread in the North Atlantic Ocean is thought to be due to the sea surface temperature
Jellyfish Database Initiative, or JeDI, plots the location of jellyfish globally
It is the first of its kind to track how the marine creatures are distributed
Study found a high concentration in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere
The spread in the North Atlantic Ocean is thought to be due to an increase in sea surface temperature
By tracking jellyfish, scientists can plot the future spread and distribution
The secret world of the jellyfish - Documentary
Jellyfish blooms around the world are on the rise.
Recent warm weather and global warming have both been linked with an increase in sightings as well reports of giant jellyfish reaching the shores in the UK.
To accurately plot this upsurge, a team of international researchers has created the Jellyfish Database Initiative, or JeDI, to track locations and predict the future spread.
The greatest concentrations were spotted in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Dissolved oxygen and rising sea surface temperatures were found to be the main cause of the large spread
As well as tracking where the largest concentrations of jellyfish currently are, scientists can use the database to learn more about their ecosystems.
The international study was led by the University of Southampton.
Currently, tracking the ecological and societal impacts of jellyfish and jellyfish blooms is hampered due to a lack of information.
The JeDI map attempts to address this knowledge gap and covers the upper 650ft (200 metres) of the world’s oceans.
This can be used to explore what causes the patterns of distribution, and why jellyfish are concentrated in certain locations around the world.
For example, using data from JeDI, authors of the study were able to show that jellyfish and other gelatinous zooplankton are present throughout the world's oceans.
But the greatest concentrations are in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
As well as tracking where the largest concentrations of jellyfish currently are, scientists can use the database to learn more about their ecosystems and plot the future spread and distribution.
Stock image of the purple-striped jellyfish, also known as the Chrysaora colorata is pictured
In the North Atlantic Ocean, in particular, dissolved oxygen and rising sea surface temperatures were found to be the main cause of the large spread of jellyfish in this area.
‘With this resource, anyone can use JeDI to address questions about the spatial and temporal extent of jellyfish populations at local, regional and global scales, and the potential implications for ecosystem services and biogeochemical processes,’ said Dr Rob Condon of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
The analysis will be the first step to establishing a database that plots gelatinous presence in the Earth’s oceans.
From which, future trends can be assessed and hypotheses tested.
The map complements the findings of a 2013 study, led by Dr Condon: ‘If jellyfish biomass does increase in the future, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, this may influence the abundance and biodiversity of zooplankton and phytoplankton, having a knock-on effect on ecosystem functioning, biogeochemical cycling and fish biomass.’
JeDI currently holds more than 476,000 records on global jellyfish populations spanning the past two centuries.
It has been designed as an open-access database for researchers, and the public, to use and contribute to.
The results of the study, led by Dr Cathy Lucas from Southampton University, appear in the latest issue of Global Ecology and Biogeography .