She is majoring in Geosciences with a concentration in Earth, Oceans, and Climate, and she is pursuing two minors, one in Soil and Water Science and another in History. Medusae are bell- or saucer-shaped, with a dome-like top, an opening at the bottom that functions as a mouth, and tentacles surrounding the opening covered in cnidocytes. Brianna is a rising junior at the University of Arizona. Polyps, on the other hand, are sessile, meaning that they are attached to substrates and do not move from one spot. It is important to emphasize the incredible diversity of species commonly known as “jellyfish.” This figure lays out how four species found in the Barnegat Bay— sea nettles, bay nettles, clinging jellyfish, and comb jellies— are all classified by scientists into different groups. Still, Govindarajan is careful about not attaching a cause to the current bloom without knowing more. “If you see one you have to give them a really wide birth because you won't necessarily see the tentacles,” Fox said. Ctenophores like comb jellies are important food sources for many species, such as birds and fish. They are members of the phylum Cnidaria. They can use their bell-shaped body to move throughout the water, and they use their stinging tentacles for protection and to capture prey. You've heard of giant squids. According to the NJDEP, if you are stung, you can do the following: pour white vinegar on the sting site to immobilize the cnidocytes, rinse the area with saltwater, remove any tentacle material with gloves or a towel, use a hot or cold compress to relieve pain, and seek medical attention if symptoms persist or if the pain gets worse instead of subsiding. Reports of "funny fish" abound, as tropical denizens pop up in unlikely places: giant cobia in New York, sailfish off Cape Cod, sunfish in the Gulf of Alaska. As of 2018, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has issued a recreational advisory for clinging jellyfish on the entire Barnegat Bay. This is known as a. : a species closer to the top of the food chain (in this case, sea nettles) protects the balance of the species lower on the food chain (here, comb jellies and zooplankton). They can use their bell-shaped body to move throughout the water, and they use their stinging tentacles for protection and to capture prey. Their consumption of species from both the water and the sediment may help cycle nutrients, such as nitrogen, in the bay. Following an eelgrass die-off, the tiny creatures nearly vanished in the 1930s. One study found up to seven different species or subspecies of clinging jellyfish in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Children might get a rash around the area because of their sensitive skin, she said. Usually, that sting is intense for a little while and dissipates over a few hours. Image credit: Brianna Hoegler. Cnidarians have stinging cells called cnidocytes, which they use for protection and to capture prey. These jellyfish disappeared in the 1930s, most likely due to an eelgrass die-off. Sea nettles feed on comb jellies, which is important to maintaining a healthy bay ecosystem. Image credit: Brianna Hoegler. In a healthy bay system where there is limited eutrophication, an excess of comb jellies could result in the decimation of zooplankton populations. And what do we currently know about the clinging jellyfish, an invasive species first spotted in the bay a few years ago? Clinging jellyfish may have arrived in the east coast as early as the 1890s, when they were found in the Cape Cod area. It occurs from Cape Cod south along the U.S. East Coast into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, but is most abundant in Chesapeake Bay, particularly in middle-Bay tributaries, where it is white. “That can lead to both faster growth, sometimes, of animals that are already living here or it can make it easier for species that normally live somewhere else where the water is warmer to sort of invade,” Madin said. “But if you are experiencing anything that feels like an allergic response that’s when they are dangerous and you would need medical attention,” Fox said. By working as an intern for Save Barnegat Bay this summer, Brianna hopes to strengthen her science communication skills and to help others create a deeper understanding for and appreciation of the bay environment. But some of the larger ones that have been reported are rare, both Fox and Madin said. Jellyfish are found in all of the world’s oceans, and they have been found at a variety of depths, from the surface to deeper waters. “We don't have any evidence that this is something hugely unusual aside from some of the larger ones,” Fox said. The last time there was a noticeable population on the beaches in Woods Hole was about five years ago, so the population increase could be somewhat of a cycle, he said. (freshwater jellyfish) Coelenterates-Hydrozoans Exotic. “It’s sort of surprising to me that people haven't seen them before,” Sophia Fox, an aquatic ecologist for the Cape Cod National Seashore, said. Save Barnegat Bay. This can grow up to 90 cm across but it has a weak sting. Clinging jellyfish first appeared in the Cape Cod area in 1894, but following an eelgrass die-off, their numbers dwindled and nearly vanished in the 1930s, according to a WHOI press release. 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