Thursday, September 06, 2007

Where are the Jellyfish and the Barnacles?

When we went to Hammonnasset a month ago we remarked on the lack of jellyfish (lion's manes?) in the water. They can be a major pain, there and elsewhere in the Sound, but we swam for the afternoon and didn't see any.

This morning Sally Harold, who heads the Nature Conservancy's Saugatuck River watershed project, asked me this:

I'm wondering if you have learned anything about what happened to the red jellyfish this summer (they were absent) and why the barnacle population seems so weak. I'm a sailor and we used to have to scrape barnacles off the boat bottom every week, now a light scrub with a sponge to get the slime off suffices. I heard from someone in Westport that gasoline sales at their marina were less than half what they were last summer. I'm wondering if there's a link between improved water clarity and reduced motorboat use...but I haven't seen any sampling data or read any reports. Have you?

I haven't. Has anyone else?

Friday morning update: The answer is yes, the Connecticut DEP has noticed. Katie O'Brien-Clayton's water quality report, which she sent out yesterday afternoon, ended with this: "We have also not encountered many ctenophores in the plankton tows this summer." Ctenophores are comb jellies, which means my speculation above about Lion's mane jellyfish was probably wrong.


Anonymous Michele Pessoni said...

I have enjoyed swimming in the Sound during the summer for over 40 years, despite the occasional jellyfish sting. This is the first summer in those 40 years where I did not see even one single jellyfish. Their absence concerns me.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Bob Marra said...

I too am a regular swimmer in the Sound, enjoying Hammonasset for the 2.2 mile jetty-to-jetty swim. Have swum jelly-free all summer, until this weekend (6-7 October), when I got stung on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday's stings are particularly bad, covering the major parts of both forearms with raised red welts. I'm wondering if it wasn't a blue bottle (Man-o'-war).

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Nina Harold said...

Sally is my mom!

5:38 PM  

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