Our changing Marine Biodiversity: Jellyfish blooms proliferation & mitigation

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Our changing Marine Biodiversity: Jellyfish blooms proliferation & mitigationThe International Day for Biological Diversity proclaimed by The United Nations to be celebrated on the 22nd of May aims at increasing understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Issues that increasingly bring to the fore problems linked to decreasing and changing biodiversity.

Small island states are among the most vulnerable to these changes and the Maltese Islands, situated in the centre of the Mediterranean and under strong anthropogenic pressures, are high on the list of environmental vulnerability.

To consider some of the aspects affecting local marine environment and biodiversity, the University of Malta’s Department of Biology (UoM:DoB) is launching its two conferences relating to jellyfish and marine biological diversity on the 22nd May 2014.

More specifically the conference to be held on the 22nd of May will focus on jellyfish diversity, cause and effects of their blooms on the marine environment, jellyfish stings effects and treatments, side by side with an appreciation of coastal biodiversity and marine research undertaken to understand the relationships between environmental variables and jellyfish proliferation and potential mitigations.

The second conference to be held on the 23rd May will consider important impacts and solutions to jellyfish blooms in relation to fisheries, aquaculture and maritime activities.

Interested stakeholders, from fishermen and sea-users to doctors and researchers, active in environmental protection, biodiversity research, marine conservation, first-aid and medical treatment of stings, stings treatment research, dissemination and awareness of jellyfish role in our marine environment and potential impacts when in large blooms, may register for attendance to these events which bring together experts in the various fields relating to jellyfish.

The aim of the conferences by the Department of Biology, University of Malta, is to provide various stakeholders linked to marine activities and industries an opportunity to increase their understanding of our sea, jellyfish species and rest of the biodiversity that dwell and change in it. Registration deadline is the 16th of May 2014 so interested stakeholders are invited to register soon.

Registration for the conferences is free, as it is being funded by the the ENPI MED-JellyRisk Project. The MED-JellyRisk project is coordinated by Prof. Stefano Piraino, Consima & University of Salento (Lecce, Italy) and is partnered by scientists in Malta (UoM: DoB & IOI-MOC), Spain (ICM-CSIC) and Tunisia (INAT & FSB).

For further details contact Dr. Adriana Vella, conservation biologist, Department of Biology, University of Malta, (MED-JellyRisk researcher and the national contact for the CIESM JellyWatch Research Programme) by email: adriana.vella@um.edu.mt or jellywatchmalta@gmail.com or by mobile on 99429592.

The photos show: Cotylorhiza tuberculata, Velella velella, Pelagia noctiluca bloom beached on sand, Pelagia noctiluca. Photos are copyright of Dr. Adriana Vella, Ph.D (Cambridge)

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