News

Global warming could mean more stingers, scientist warns

Irukandji jellyfish are tiny, but their sting can be fatal.
Irukandji jellyfish are tiny, but their sting can be fatal. Contributed

RISING sea temperatures could make dangerous irukandji and box jellyfish a problem in Northern Rivers waters, a CSIRO scientist has warned.

CSIRO research scientist, Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, says more research is needed into the jellyfish. She warned higher ocean temperatures from global warming may stimulate jellyfish to breed faster, grow faster and live longer.

"What you don't want happening is that all of a sudden it's a huge problem and no one sees that coming," she said.

Symptoms of an irukandji jellyfish sting include severe pain, vomiting, anxiety and in rare cases can cause pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs), hypertension or toxic heart failure that can be fatal.

A box jellyfish sting can be fatal in as little as three minutes.

Dr Gershwin said contrary to popular belief, instances of "tropical" jellyfish like the irukandji in places like Moreton Bay, Fraser Island, Newcastle and Sydney were likely to be from local populations rather than tropical species migrating south.

An irukandji jellyfish.
An irukandji jellyfish. LISA ANN GERSHWIN

"We have irukandji that are already south and have always been south because that's their species, that's their habitat," she said.

"A little bit of change is probably enough to stimulate the local ones to get a little rambunctious long before the big swarms up north will be able to migrate south.

"So it's important to identify what conditions stimulate irukandji to be more active, where they are occurring and how that interacts without beach usage," she said. "It's a matter of doing the research."

Dr Gershwin said the fact stings from box and irukandji jellyfish were in rare was evidence the populations were not out of control.

"I think there's enough of a possibility that it could become a problem with warmer waters that we should be looking into it."

Dr Daniel Bucher, a senior lecturer in marine biology and fisheries at Southern Cross University, said it was difficult to predict how Northern Rivers waters would be influenced by a general increase in ocean temperatures, and the jellyfish populations that came with warmer warmers.

"It's really hard to tell in this particular area because our coastal water temperatures are influenced by the East Australian Current (EAC) so we get huge fluctuations in temperatures," he said.

"Certainly we might be getting more frequent periods of warmer water but we could just as easily get cooler.

"No one's really got a good handle on what's going to happen when it (EAC) gets warmer and stronger, if that happens."

CSIRO is currently developing an early warning system that will predict when and where irukandji jellyfish blooms are likely to occur.

Topics:  box jellyfish climate change csiro edith morris irukandji jellyfish



PHOTOS: Beef Week's breakfast with the butchers gets cooking

Max,3, and Sophia,4, Gooding from Casino at Breakfast with the Butchers at Casino Beef Week.

This morning the BBQ's were running hot in the Casino CBD

Health authorities respond to fresh claims against hospital

Lismore Base Hospital.

Mum alleges "third world treatment" of baby

Ballina tops region for poker machine profits

undefined

Pokies pulled in more than $6 million in profits in three months

Local Partners

Paralympian's inspiring Beef Week talk

RESILIENCE and determination were key topics of discussion over morning tea at the Casino Beef Week Ladies High Tea yesterday.


Mandy and Ellen will be just women like us in Nimbin

DUO: Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs bring their hit show Women Like Us to Nimbin.

Hit comedy show heading towards Nimbin

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

A ballet event of lovers and fairies in Byron Bay

ON STAGE: Byron Ballet's 10th anniversary production will be Shakespeare's A Midnight Summer's Dream.

Byron Ballet celebrates 10 years

Mandy and Ellen will be just women like us in Nimbin

HIT comedy show heading towards Nimbin.

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

A ballet event of lovers and fairies in Byron Bay

ON STAGE: Byron Ballet's 10th anniversary production will be Shakespeare's A Midnight Summer's Dream.

Byron Ballet celebrates 10 years

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Wild and unknown from Sara Tindley

SONGS FROM THE HEART: Singer Songwriter Sara Tindley.

Local singer songwriter unveils new album

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!