The Citizen Science Observatory of Archipelagos Institute contributes to the monitoring of jellyfish blooms in Greece, proving once more how invaluable citizen science is as a source of information on the biodiversity of and the threats faced by our seas. We all can, and must, join forces, collaborate and exchange information so that we can understand and learn to live under the new conditions that are being formed under the effects of climate change.
Since spring, population blooms of jellyfish have been observed and recorded in various regions of the Greek seas, especially in semi-enclosed seas where there is a large anthropogenic impact. These blooms are the collective result of many factors, but most importantly overfishing and intensive fishing of large predatory fish, which has resulted in the opening up of “ecological space” in ecosystems allowing the jellyfish to increase in number. Equally important is the overall anthropogenic impact from waste waters that end up in our seas via intensive agriculture, as well as from cities and tourist areas. We should not forget that during the summer months millions of visitors arrive to the islands and coastal regions of Greece, causing an intense environmental footprint on our seas.
In cooperation with the Mediterranean Science Commission CIESM – Mediterranean Science Commission, Archipelagos Institute is an active member of the Mediterranean CIESM Jelly Watch Program, which was set up to gather baseline data on the frequency and extent of jellyfish outbreaks across the Mediterranean Sea for the first time.
Through the combined observations of our research team and those by Archipelagos’ Citizen Science Observatory, we gather year-round data and information on jellyfish blooms.