El Nino decimated jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake

  26 Aug 2016

Jellyfish will return under right conditions

By: L.N. Reklai

(Koror, Palau)  As of June 22, 2016, there were no adults or baby jellyfish in the famous Jellyfish Lake, according to a report presented by Coral Reef Research Foundation at the recently concluded Environmental Symposium held on August 23, 2016 at the Palasia Hotel.[restrict]

“There are healthy polyps on the lake floor but it will take right weather conditions (rains and wind) for the polyps to produce the jellyfish,” reported Gerda Ucharm, researcher for CRRF.

According to the study, the decline and disappearance of the jellyfish in the Jellyfish Lake is the result of the climate conditions that affected the entire world, such as the severe El Nino that Palau had just experienced.  It is not caused by the number of tourists to the lake.

Combination of high salinity, very low temperatures and lack of nutrients, as result of recent El Nino, caused the initial decline in jellyfish population.

One major factor that contributed to the decline or the inability of the juvenile and baby jelly fish to survive was lack of food.  The lake during the El Nino, with the lowest recorded rainfall of Palau’s history recorded in May, suffered from lack of nutrients.  Jellyfish died out due to lack of food

With the return of very warm weather and warm water, the polyps which have adopted to such weather conditions over thousands of years, are not producing baby jellyfish until the lake reaches the right temperature.

These together resulted in not only disappearance of adult jellyfish but also the baby and the juvenile jellyfish leaving only the polyps at the bottom of the lake.

“As long as polyps are healthy, in right conditions, the jellyfish will be back,” stated Ms. Ucharm of the Coral Reef Research Foundation. [/restrict]