Jellyfish and their uses were the subject of an international science symposium at UWC earlier this month.
The International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium drew scientists from around the world.
Professor Mark Gibbons, a lecturer in the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at UWC, said jellyfish slime was used in some parts of the world to “mop up” microplastics and other pollutants in the ocean.
“They are particularly helpful to marine conservationists because their presence (or absence) is a good indication of the health of the oceans around us.
In Thailand, Vietnam and some other Eastern nations, jellyfish are seen as delicacies and are often added to salads or processed into snacks.
“At this stage, jellyfish are being used in a variety of experimental ways. One of the other ways they have been used is as a source of food for livestock and as fertilisers for crops as well as chips for humans.”
Research has shown that jellyfish have been able to adapt to changing climates and the impact of waste being dumped into the oceans.
“We looked at the impact that phosphorus-rich waste which is high in municipal waste has on water clarity, the size and structure of the food web and the concentration of life-giving oxygen. These changes are not good for most the types of fish that we eat, as these generally use vision to see large-sized prey. They also need high concentrations of oxygen to support their active lifestyles. Jellyfish have several pre-adaptations to the changes we have caused – human-impacted ecosystem – that allow them to increase in numbers.”
Professor Delphine Thibault, an associate professor from the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology in Marseille, France was one of the organisers of the event and was also in attendance.
Professor Thibault said: “Our work, is to be shared and disseminated worldwide.”