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Jellyfish Disappearing in Palau Due to El Niño

May 06, 2016 11:51 AM EDT
Visitors Enjoy The Wildlife At The Farne Islands
The jellyfish lake in Palau is home to millions of jellyfish. But due to El Niño, their population dropped to 600,000 today.
(Photo : Kitwood/Getty Images)

The warming of the planet has influenced the ecological balance on earth. Visible effects of El Niño and climate change include the melting of ice caps in the Antarctic and the coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef. But a more dreadful occurrence is starting to manifest. Like the famous jellyfish lake in Palau, home to millions of jellyfish. Due to El Niño and lesser rainfall, there is a drastic and alarming decline of the population of jellyfish in the lake, which experts calculated to have gone down to 600,000 today.

But why are the jellyfish disappearing?

According to National Geographic, experts fear that the effect of climate change and El Nino might be too much for the jellyfish population. Their decline is enough evidence to prove that there is a chance in the environment that's why the organisms behave unusually.

David Gruber of the American Museum of Natural History and National Geographic said "They may simply be the tip of the iceberg,"

In the same report, the Coral Reef Research Foundation said that the estimated number of jellyfish in the lake dropped to "600,000, down from an average of eight million". This is an alarming figure according to experts.

But they still aren't sure why exactly the jellyfish are disappearing. But data suggests that the El Niño phenomenon is the culprit. The area currently holds their lowest average rainfall in 65 years. Meanwhile the Coral Reef Research Foundation also said the water is saltier than it usually is.

According to a report of the Coral Reef Research Foundation on their Facebook page, the future of the jellyfish lake is at risk due to the population decline.

Researchers said that the saltiness of the water can be attributed to the lack of rainfall. Another major factor which caused them to disappear is the behavior of their food, the zooplankton which doesn't seem as prolific as they were before.

Although the reason for their decline is still under scrutiny, experts can say that they fear for the young jellyfish because they don't seem to survive longer.

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