據美國國家科學基金會（National Science Foundation）最新線上報告指出，目前全球多處著名景點，包括美國海域皆陷入水母遽增危機。報告中說，全球每年有1.5億人會遭遇到水母，大批蜂擁而至的水母和類水母，把許多世界級漁場和景點變成了「水母觀光區」，水域中時不時就擠滿這些帶刺蠕動的膠狀生物。
在墨西哥灣（Gulf of Mexico）水母最密集的水域中，水母甚至比水還要多──每立方米水體有100隻水母。位於灣區、隸屬於美國阿拉巴馬州的多芬島海洋實驗室（Dauphin Island Sea Lab），其發言人葛理翰（Monty Graham）表示：「我常被問及，是否背後有一股驅力觸發水母的遽增。事實上，那些異常巨大且密集經常出現的水母群顯示的正是環境負載平衡問題。」
Jellyfish blooms are ruining some of the world's most beautiful vacation spots, according to a new online report by the National Science Foundation on massive jellyfish swarms in U.S. waters and around the world.
At least 150 million people around the world are exposed to jellyfish every year, the report says. Swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations into "jellytoriums" that are intermittently jammed with the pulsating, gelatinous creatures.
These jellyfish explosions are generated by human activities, some scientists believe. Possible causes include pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing and the presence of artificial structures, such as oil and gas rigs.
Jellyfish swarms have damaged fisheries, fish farms, seabed mining operations, desalination plants and large ships, and they have disabled nuclear power plants by clogging intake pipes.
In the Gulf of Mexico's densest jellyfish swarms there are more jellyfish than there is water - 100 jellyfish can occupy each cubic meter of water.
"I'm often asked whether a single, overarching condition is triggering jellyfish swarms in diverse locations," says Monty Graham of Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Graham says the abnormally large, dense or frequent jellyfish swarms are "a symptom of an ecosystem that has been tipped off balance by environmental stresses."
So, just as a weakened person is vulnerable to opportunistic diseases, stressed ecosystems are vulnerable to infestations of jellyfish.
As prey, jellyfish are eaten by seabirds, salmon, sun fish, turtles and other gelatinous creatures.
But as marine turtles have disappeared, jellyfish have proliferated. All seven species of sea turtles eat jellyfish and all seven species are endangered. Their survival is threatened by fishing lines that trap them, pollution, beach development, climate change and sales of turtles and turtle parts.
Jellyfish are not all bad - scientists are identifying ecological services provided by the gelatinous creatures. For instance, recent studies show that the tentacles dangling from the Bering Sea's large jellyfish provide hiding places for young pollock that are pursued by other predators but have grown too big for the jellyfish to eat.
Most species of jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are not harmful to people, according to the National Science Foundation report. But it warns that all true jellyfish and some species of jellyfish-like creatures sting - and a single stinging tentacle may be studded with thousands of stingers.
Beware, warns the report. Gelatinous creatures that are harmful to people live in every ocean.
Click here to view the report, "Jellyfish Gone Wild: Environmental Change and Jellyfish Swarms."