News of the WeekMarine Ecology

Chinese Initiative Aims to Comprehend and Combat a Slimy Foe

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Science  10 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6010, pp. 1464-1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6010.1464

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Last month, researchers met in Qingdao, China, to plot strategy on a 5-year, $4 million mission to understand the disturbing ascendancy of jellyfish in Asian waters, one that parallels the apparent rise of the animals in the Mediterranean and Caspian seas and other bodies of water. One objective is to probe the creature's life cycle and interactions with other organisms. Another aim is to pin down the cause of blooms; in Asia, chief suspects are overfishing, climate change, and eutrophication, or excess nutrients in coastal waters. Such knowledge may prove critical to thwarting an ecological hijacking.