Where are the Jellyfish and the Barnacles?
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.