INUNDATED: The Coast has been flooded with jellyfish on our beaches lately.
INUNDATED: The Coast has been flooded with jellyfish on our beaches lately. Picasa

EXPLAINED: Why jellyfish have swamped our beaches

IF YOU'VE hit the sand over the past week you may have found yourself dodging a sea of jellyfish that have washed up on our beaches.

Blue blubbers, bluebottles and jellyfish have been scattered along our coastline since last weekend.

Reports of some large bluebottles were still coming through from Alexandra Headland today, while there were plenty sweeping up on our beaches earlier this week.

Last Saturday Mudjimba Beach was awash with blubbers and jellyfish, interspersed with bluebottles.

So what's been driving the stinging creatures onto our beaches?

 

SWARM: Simon Briggs snapped this jellyfish swarm in September.
SWARM: Simon Briggs snapped this jellyfish swarm in September. Simon Briggs

Well we can't do what Prince would and blame it on the rain, our jellyfish infestation is down to the wind.

A prolonged season of onshore winds has whipped surface currents into too strong of a force for the translucent, floating stinging nettles to resist.

"It (consistent onshore winds) brings in anything that floats on the surface," University of the Sunshine Coast Associate Professor of Biostatistics and marine biology teacher Dr David Schoeman said.

If we'd had more swell around, aside from the past two days, we may have seen more algae and surface debris wash ashore as well.

 

FAMILIAR SIGHT: Bluebottles and jellyfish have been littered upon our beaches of late.
FAMILIAR SIGHT: Bluebottles and jellyfish have been littered upon our beaches of late. Contributed

Jellyfish and other surface critters that aren't strong enough to swim against the current are classed as plankton.

Jellyfish are able to control their movement up and down in the water, meaning they may be able to move deeper to avoid surface currents, but they're often unable to tell they are being blown ashore until it's too late and they're caught up in the breaking waves.

"In the surf zone they can't do much," Dr Schoeman said.

"It's just a prolonged season of onshore winds (that's led to the jellyfish and bluebottles blowing ashore)."


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