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Jellyfish Blooms Shunt Food Energy from Fish to Bacteria

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A new study by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) shows that jellyfish are more than a nuisance to bathers and boaters, drastically altering marine food webs by shunting food energy from fish toward bacteria.

An apparent increase in the size and frequency of jellyfish blooms in coastal and estuarine waters around the world during the last few decades means that jellies' impact on marine food webs is likely to increase into the future.

The results of the study, led by recent VIMS Ph.D. graduate Rob Condon -- now a faculty member at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) in Alabama -- appear in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His co-authors are VIMS professors Deborah Steinberg and Deborah Bronk, Paul del Giorgio of the Université du Québec à Montréal, Thierry Bouvier of Université Montpellier in France, Monty Graham of DISL, and Hugh Ducklow of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

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