Most people think the jellyfish that wash up on our beaches every summer are creatures from warmer seas that simply drifted off course in the seas and ended up on our shores. Nothing could be further from the truth. Six different kinds of jellyfish could well claim Irish citizenship for they are born and bred around our coasts. Some could even call themselves Dubliners. For a creature that is so common, we know remarkably little about them. Where do they come from? What do they eat? How do they breed? What jellyfish can sting you? What to do if you get stung? In the final programme of the fourth series Colin is going to find out more about these strange and wonderful creatures and answer all those questions you really wanted to ask someone who knows all about jellyfish. Colin meets up with Dr. Tom Doyle and his team from University College Cork who are studying jellyfish in the Irish Sea as part of a EU funded project called Ecojel. He also catches up with some intrepid swimmers at the 40 Foot in Dun Laoghire who swim in waters populated by Ireland's most venomous jellyfish the Lion's Mane.
EcoJel aims to assess the opportunities and detrimental impacts of jellyfish in the Irish Sea. It is a four year project, funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Ireland Wales Programme 2007-2013 - Interreg 4A and is a collaboration between Swansea University (Wales) and University College Cork (Ireland). Key components of the project include, tracking the highly venomous lion's mane jellyfish in the Irish Sea, determining long term trends in the abundance of jellyfish and establishing the impacts of jellyfish on fisheries and aquaculture. For more information see www.jellyfish.ie
Dr Tom Doyle is the Principal Investigator on the EcoJel Project and is based at the Coastal & Marine Research Centre, UCC cmrc.ucc.ie. Mr Thomas Bastian, also of the CMRC, is a PhD student working full time on the EcoJel Project. Mr Damien Haberlin and Ms Mary Catherine Gallaher are both students of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UCC.
Dr Doyle also works on another jellyfish project called GilPat that is investigating the impacts of jellyfish on farmed salmon. This project is funded by the Marine Institute's Sea Change Strategy with the support of the National Development Plan 2007-2013 (co-financed by ERDF).