Jellyfish dispersion model launched

A jellyfish dispersion model through which users can track the forecasted pathway of a jellyfish bloom they observe in the waters around the Maltese Islands for four days has been launched as part of the Med-Jellyrisk Project.

The model was launched by Anthony Galea, Denis Cutajar, Aldo Drago and Alan Deidun from the Physical Oceanography Research Group within the Department of Geosciences with the assistance of technical staff from ISMAR-CNR in Italy.

The model is publicly available through an online interface.

Photo: Alan DeidunPhoto: Alan Deidun

Upon registering, users receive an email with credentials through which to make a query to the model, by selecting the marine area where the jellyfish bloom was observed, its extent, density and species.

Simulations can be run for two the mauve stinger pelagia noctiluca and the fried-egg jellyfish cotylorhiza tuberculata, which are treated differently on the basis of differences in their hydrodynamic properties.

After a few minutes, the model will output several maps showing the forecast trajectory of the bloom and highlight the coastal stretches more likely to be impacted by beaching of the same bloom components.

The aim of the model is to implement a decision-support system for coastal managers by providing an early warning system of the occurrence of high jellyfish densities within particular stretches.

Med-Jellyrisk is a 3-year-long project, funded under the framework of the Enpi-Cbc Med framework, which involves the participation of five institutions from Italy, Tunisia, Spain and Maltam including the university’s Physical Oceanography Research Group and the Department of Biology.

A number of other initiatives have been embarked upon within the same project, all aimed at improving the coastal management facilities dealing with jellyfish.

These include, the development of a smart phone app (Med-Jelly), the organisation of a training school in Barcelona for students pursuing jellyfish and zooplankton studies, the installation of jellyfish research facilities in Tunisia, the installation of anti-jellyfish nets in participating countries (including one at Pretty Bay) and the printing of manuals and booklets providing information on the treatment of jellyfish stings and the taxonomic identification of different jellyfish species occurring within local waters.

These publications can be download here.



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