Smellies and jellies
On the far side of the almost-island of Pen Dinas a rocky pinnacle stands a few yards beyond the cliffs. Right now it's packed with nesting sea birds, mostly guillemots and razor bills, crammed into every ledge and crevice. Their occupation of the rock is visual, audible and olfactory. But it didn't occupy my attention as much as the silent, shadowy presence of hundreds of drifting, pulsing ghostly globes in the waters all around. These are barrel jellyfish enjoying their seasonal surge in our warming waters and attracting headlines that always include words like 'monster' and 'invasion'. In fact these marine animals are virtually harmless (with just a mild sting) and temporary. They live on plankton and are the favourite food of leatherback turtles whose occasional arrival on the scene is a bonus.
I couldn't help thinking about all that over-abundant biomass floating around - to what use could it be put? Sure enough, I discovered that an EU project called GoJelly has been set up to investigate the possibility of using jellyfish mucus to trap plastic nanoparticles in the oceans, as well as using jellyfish for fertilizer, for commercial fish feed, for cosmetics and indeed as food for humans.
With Brexit the UK may miss out on these new lines of investigation...
Extra shows a few of the jelly multitude in the water but for some really stunning barrel jellypics do look at these images by a Spanish photographer.