Jellyfish are no-brainer in summer - Kodiak Daily Mirror: Switgard Duesterloh

Jellyfish are no-brainer in summer

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 9:00 am

KODIAK — Kodiak is in summer mode; salmon fishing is at its height, tourists are swarming town, there is a constant background sound track of lawn mowers, outboards and children playing, and the roads are dusty. Some people love and enjoy every moment of it while others complain about too much heat and too much watering the gardens. Just as people are divided on the pro’s and con’s of summer heat, so are the life forms in the ocean.

As you may remember from previous amazing nature columns, I am a plankton ecologist by training, even though that is not what I spend a lot of time doing anymore. However, sometimes I take the good old plankton net out on a boat and peek at the treasures it brings to the surface. Here are the many small organisms that make up the community of floaters and drifters. These form the food base for all the filter feeders and all the plankton feeders including the smelt, capelin, candle fishes and herring. Forage fish in turn are the bread and butter for anything enjoying Kodiak waters from king salmon over seals, sea lions and numerous sea birds to the whales. But there is something else in the plankton, which feeds on other plankton animals and gives my sample a gooey consistency: lots of jellies.

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