Are jellyfish taking over? Dr. Lisa-ann Gershwin, author of Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of our Oceans and the director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Sciences, has outlined how rising temperatures and the toxicity of the earth's oceans have resulted in an increase in jellyfish blooms. We recently asked the marine biologist about the rise of the jellies and whether humans are smarter than brainless invertebrates.
Can you start of by telling me what Stung! is about?
It's about human impact on the oceans and the unexpected and unwanted consequences of jellyfish taking over. Nobody could have imagined that jellyfish could have done so well in damaged ecosystems.
There is a really powerful quote in your book: “Here we are at the dawn of a new millennium, in the age of cyberspace, and we are at the mercy of jellyfish.” What is the significance of that quote to you?
Despite all of our gadgets and all of our technologies and all of our good intentions and our good management models, despite our ability to do things right, nonetheless jellyfish are getting the best of us. We’re losing this battle to jellyfish. Mind you, it’s not their fault, we’re not losing the battle to ourselves because we want our cake and we want to eat it too. It’s our fault because we’re damaging the ecosystems to the point that they’re able to exploit that damage.