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Author Topic: Effects on Arctic Wildlife  (Read 13419 times)

b_lumenkraft

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #50 on: February 20, 2019, 08:02:29 PM »
Ha! Good news for once.

Keep them coming, please.

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2019, 12:39:14 AM »
Russian Navy Beluga Whale
http://www.hisutton.com/Russia_Navy_Beluga_Whale.html

Fishermen in Finnmark in northern Norway recently found a Beluga whale wearing a tight harness for external equipment. The whale was first sighted near the island of Ingøy early in the week of 22nd April 2019, with photos taken and the harness removed on 24th April. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the whale escaped from a Russian Navy program, most likely during an exercise.

The location is on the edge of the whale’s natural arctic habitat, but the whale has clearly escaped from captivity. It was tame and returned to the local fishermen on several occasions until they were able to remove the harness. When removed, the harness was found to include the label “Equipment of St. Petersburg”. It is not thought that Russian scientists (nor Norwegian scientists!) use harnesses in this way during research, and all fingers are pointing to the Russian Navy based nearby on the Kola Peninsular.

... The harness was reported to be for a camera, likely similar to a go-pro. This implies use in underwater reconnaissance, possibly of objects on the sea floor.

The Soviet Navy operated a marine mammal program in the Black Sea but this was subsequently closed. This discovery demonstrates that the Russian Navy is still working with marine mammals, this time in the Arctic.

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Whale with harness could be Russian weapon, say Norwegian experts 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/29/whale-with-harness-could-be-russian-weapon-say-norwegian-experts

... A 2017 report by TV Zvezda, a station owned by the defence ministry, revealed that the Russian navy has again been training beluga whales, seals and bottlenose dolphins for military purposes in polar waters.

The recent research and training was done by Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute in northern Russia on behalf of the navy to see if beluga whales could be used to “guard entrances to naval bases’” in arctic regions, “assist deepwater divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory”.

Dolphins and seals meanwhile were trained to carry tools for divers and detect torpedoes, mines, and other ammunition which has sunk to depths of up to 120 metres. Government public records records show that the defence ministry purchased five bottle-nosed dolphins, aged between three and five, from Moscow’s Utrish Dolphinarium in 2016 at a cost of £18,000.

During their research the Murmansk sea biology research institute concluded dolphins and seals were much more suited to the training and arctic climates than the beluga whales. The whales were deemed too sensitive to the cold and did not have the same “high professionalism” of seals, which had a far better memory for remembering oral commands
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 08:46:39 AM by vox_mundi »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #52 on: May 23, 2019, 01:40:07 PM »
Study Predicts Shift to Smaller Animals Over Next Century
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-shift-smaller-animals-century.html

Researchers predict the average (median) body mass of mammals specifically will collectively reduce by 25 per cent over the next century. This decline represents a large, accelerated change when compared with the 14 per cent body size reduction observed in species from 130,000 years ago (the last interglacial period) until today.

In the future, small, fast-lived, highly-fertile, insect-eating animals, which can thrive in a wide-variety of habitats, will predominate. These 'winners' include rodents, such as dwarf gerbil—and songbirds, such as the white-browed sparrow-weaver. Less adaptable, slow-lived species, requiring specialist environmental conditions, will likely fall victim of extinction. These 'losers' include the tawny eagle and black rhinoceros.

... "The substantial 'downsizing' of species which we forecast could incur further negative impacts for the long-term sustainability of ecology and evolution. This downsizing may be happening due to the effects of ecological change but, ironically, with the loss of species which perform unique functions within our global ecosystem, it could also end up as a driver of change too."

Findings are published in detail in the journal Nature Communications. 

Open Access: R. Cooke, et.al., Projected losses of global mammal and bird ecological strategies, Nature Communications (2019)

Quote
... The future defaunation explored here also shows parallels to historic extinction events, such as the late Quaternary extinctions, which likely disrupted species interactions, reduced long-distance seed dispersal, and fundamentally restructured energy flow and nutrient cycling through communities. Moreover, a growing number of studies support the hypothesis that the late Quaternary extinctions had cascading effects on small vertebrates and plant community biodiversity and function, resulting in ecosystem shifts comparable in magnitude to those generated by climatic fluctuations   
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2019, 12:03:51 AM »
Mass Die-Off of Puffins Recorded in the Bering Sea 
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-mass-die-off-puffins-bering-sea.html

A mass die-off of seabirds in the Bering Sea may be partially attributable to climate change, according to a new study publishing May 29 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Timothy Jones of the citizen science program COASST at University of Washington, Lauren Divine from the Aleut Community of St Paul Island Ecosystem Conservation Office, and colleagues. The birds appeared to have died from the effects of starvation.

Beginning in 2014, increased atmospheric temperatures and decreased winter sea ice led to declines in energy-rich prey species in the Bering Sea, as well as a shift of some species more northward, diminishing puffin food resources in the southern portion of the sea.

Beginning in October 2016, tribal and community members recovered over 350 severely emaciated carcasses, mostly adults in the process of molting, a known nutritional stressor during the avian life cycle. A reduction in food resources before entering molt may have prevented many birds from surviving, the authors suggest. Using wind data to model beachings, they calculated between 3,150 and 8,500 birds could have died in the event. Tufted puffins comprised 87% of this total, or 40-100% of the Pribilofs Islands' population

The authors suggest that climate-driven shifts in prey abundance and/or distribution, combined with the onset of molt, may have caused this puffin die-off, and note that further climate variability in this region is probable.   

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216532
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

jai mitchell

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2019, 08:57:06 PM »
Another story on the Puffin die-off in the Bering Sea

https://weather.com/news/news/2019-05-30-puffins-dead-starved-bering-sea

Quote
Some of the carcuses were sent for necroscopies, which showed they had unusually low levels of body fat and weak pectoral muscles. That led researchers to conclude the birds had starved.

“They literally didn’t have enough to eat and became weak to the point of death,” Julia Parrish, an ecologist at the University of Washington and one of the study's researchers, told the Atlantic.

When the birds first started washing up, Parrish and others theorized that the puffins' diet was lacking in energy-rich food sources. The new research supports that claim. Typically, the birds feed on fish which in turn rely on plankton as their main nutritional source.

But both those food sources are becoming more scarce due to increased sea and atmospheric temperatures, as well as declining winter sea ice in the Bering Sea. Those factors are driving the puffins' food sources to find colder waters farther north
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #55 on: June 11, 2019, 01:43:43 AM »
The ice algae is being endangered, this will ripple up into arctic wildlife:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/08/world/arctic-beneath-ice-intl/index.html
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #56 on: June 14, 2019, 04:36:24 AM »
Tons of Dead Seals Are Washing Up In the Arctic and Nobody Knows Why 
https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/pajvp8/tons-of-dead-seals-are-washing-up-in-the-arctic-and-nobody-knows-why

A mysterious string of seal deaths along an Alaskan coastline has triggered a federal investigation.

The carcasses of at least 60 ice seals—bearded, ringed, and spotted seals—have been discovered near the Arctic’s Bering and Chukchi seas on Alaska’s western coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced in a press release on Wednesday.

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-fisheries-responding-multiple-dead-ice-seals-bering-sea-region

The agency received multiple reports of dead seals on Monday in Norton Sound, a Bering Sea inlet and subsistence hunting area for Indigenous communities. A hunter from the local city of Kotlik found 18 carcasses along 11 miles of shoreline, and “dozens” more across the bay on Stuart Island, NOAA said.

Further north, a biologist with the National Park Service encountered six dead seals along the Chukchi shoreline between Kotzebue Airport and Sadie Creek, NOAA added. Members of the public also reported 30 carcasses up the coast between Kivalina and Point Hope.

...  NOAA likened these symptoms to an event that killed 233 seals between 2011 and 2016 in northern Alaska. At least 657 dead and live seals presented with hair loss and lesions that were ultimately blamed on an “abnormality of the molt.” The agency declared it an Unusual Mortality Event, defined as “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.”

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Alaskans find more dead seals along warming Arctic Sea
https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1TE010

Ice in the Bering and Chukchi seas has been far scarcer than normal, and sea-surface temperatures have been far higher than usual, according to scientists and agency reports. But the cause of the seal die-off is as yet unknown, said Julie Speegle, an Alaska spokeswoman for NOAA Fisheries.

Sea-surface temperatures along the coastlines of the Bering Sea and the southern Chukchi Sea were as much as 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 Fahrenheit) above normal last month and remained well above normal as of this week, according to NOAA data.

Bearded, spotted and ringed seals use sea ice as platforms for food foraging, for resting and for raising their young. Alaska's bearded and ringed seals are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The reports of dead seals, which started in May and come from village residents and a National Park Service biologist, coincide with mounting discoveries of dead gray whales along the West Coast from California to Alaska.

-------------------------

Coincidentally, the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (including submarines) recently sailed to Alaska and is conducting War Games in the area.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 04:50:32 AM by vox_mundi »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Midnightsun

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #57 on: June 14, 2019, 09:52:29 AM »
Here's a lil theory on the deaths: the zooplankton collapsed due to starving on microplastics, and the dominos fell all the way up the chain.

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #58 on: June 14, 2019, 01:33:44 PM »
Or the plankton & zooplankton overheated, the fish scattered - same net result ...



... microplastics don't help, either.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #59 on: June 20, 2019, 09:37:30 PM »
Researchers Confirm Narwhals and Belugas Can Interbreed
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-narwhals-belugas-interbreed.html


Skull morphology of (a) beluga, (b) MCE1356, and (c) narwhal

A team of University of Copenhagen researchers has compiled the first and only evidence that narwhals and beluga whales can breed successfully. DNA and stable isotope analysis of an anomalous skull from the Natural History Museum of Denmark has allowed researchers to confirm the existence of a narwhal-beluga hybrid.

For nearly thirty years, a strange-looking whale skull has gathered dust in the collections of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. Now, a team of researchers has determined the reason for the skull's unique characteristics: it belongs to a narwhal-beluga hybrid.

A Greenlandic hunter shot the whale in the 1980's and was puzzled by its odd appearance. He therefore kept the skull and placed it on the roof of his toolshed. Several years later, Professor Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources visited the settlement and also immediately recognized the skull's strange characteristics. He interviewed the hunter about the anomalous whale he had shot, and sent the skull to Copenhagen. Since then, it has been stored at the Zoological Museum, a part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

"As far as we know, this is the first and only evidence in the world that these two Arctic whale species can interbreed. Based on the intermediate shape of the skull and teeth, it was suggested that the specimen might be a narwhal-beluga hybrid, but this could not be confirmed. Now we provide the data that confirm that yes—it is indeed a hybrid," says Eline Lorenzen, evolutionary biologist and curator at the University of Copenhagen's Natural History Museum of Denmark. Lorenzen led the study, which was published today in Scientific Reports.



The hybrid's skull was considerably larger than that of a typical narwhal or beluga. But the teeth were markedly different. Whereas narwhals have only one or rarely two long spiraling tusks, belugas have a set of uniform conical teeth that are aligned in straight rows. The hybrid skull has a set of long, spiraling and pointed teeth, that are angled horizontally.

"This whale has a bizarre set of teeth. The isotope analysis allowed us to determine that the animal's diet was entirely different than that of a narwhal or beluga—and it is possible that its teeth influenced its foraging strategy. Whereas the other two species fed in the water column, the hybrid was a bottom dweller," according to Mikkel Skovrind, a Ph.D. student at the Natural History Museum and first author of the paper.

Open Access: Mikkel Skovrind et al. Hybridization between two high Arctic cetaceans confirmed by genomic analysis, Scientific Reports (2019)

----------------------

Beluga Whales Adopt Lost Narwhal in St. Lawrence River
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/belugas-narwhal-stlawrence-1.4820602

An unusual visitor has been hanging out in the St. Lawrence River for the past three years: A narwhal, more than 1,000 kilometres south of its usual range.

But the lone narwhal is not alone — it appears he has been adopted by a band of belugas.

The narwhal — thought to be a juvenile male because of its half-metre-long tusk — was filmed in July playing among a pod of young belugas, thought to be mostly or all males.

The video was taken by the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM), a non-profit group dedicated to whale research, conservation and education based in Tadoussac, Que.

"It behaves like it was one of the boys," said Robert Michaud, the group's president and scientific director.

The interactions between the narwhal and the belugas appear to be identical to those among just the belugas, suggesting the narwhal has been fully accepted as part of the group.

------------------------

Russia to Release 100 Illegally Captured Whales
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-russia-illegally-captured-whales.html

Russian officials have launched an operation to release nearly 100 illegally captured whales whose confinement in Russia's far east has become a rallying cry for environmentalists.

... Russian prosecutors have brought criminal charges against four companies keeping the whales.

--------------------------------

Russians Capture Hungry Polar Bear Roaming Arctic City
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-russians-capture-hungry-polar-roaming.html

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Rod

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2019, 02:40:05 AM »
S1 is going to have a long swim back to shore.

However, I have been following this researcher for a while, and the tagged bears always seem to make it back.  They can swim really long distances.

He has also been saying that this year the polar bears in the Hudson seem to be doing well.  The longer the ice lasts and they can stay at sea, the better off they are.  It is when they get to land that they have trouble finding food.

Rod

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #61 on: July 25, 2019, 03:43:11 AM »
The bears are starting to make it back to shore.

S1 has not made much progress, and I’m a little worried about E3. It is a good thing polar bears are such good swimmers!

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #62 on: July 26, 2019, 12:39:41 AM »
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

Rod

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #63 on: July 29, 2019, 05:07:26 AM »
More sad news for arctic wildlife.

Over 200 dead reindeer found on Norway's Arctic Svalbard

https://gulfnews.com/world/europe/over-200-dead-reindeer-found-on-norways-arctic-svalbard-1.1564238906266

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #64 on: August 03, 2019, 02:03:46 AM »
Arctic 'Miracle': Icebreaker Salvages Lost Recordings of Beluga Whales
https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1US171

KIRUNA, Sweden (Reuters) - A year-long recording of the songs of Beluga whales has been salvaged from the Arctic after the crew of a Swedish icebreaker chanced upon a research buoy adrift in hazardous pack ice.

A team tracking the device from California said they had almost given it up for lost when a "miracle" run of events allowed the vessel, the Oden, to stage an impromptu rescue while navigating through a channel in the far north of Canada.


... Loose was speaking in video footage transmitted from the Oden to his university and shared with Reuters.

The Northwest Passage Project, which groups various academic institutions, has staged three live broadcasts from the Oden via social media and dozens of public events in the United States.

The icebreaker cast off from Thule, Greenland on July 18 and has conducted a series of experiments with the help of students on board. The vessel is due to return to Thule on Sunday.

See also: https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2759.msg213156.html#msg213156.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #65 on: September 16, 2019, 05:01:03 PM »
NOAA Declares Unusual Mortality Event for Arctic Ice Seals
https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/09/12/noaa-declares-unusual-mortality-event-for-arctic-ice-seals/

On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared an Unusual Mortality Event for several species of ice seals in Arctic waters. Since June 2018, NOAA has documented 282 dead seals in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. 

“For the past two years, the number of stranded ring, bearded and spotted seals is about five times more than is usual,” said NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle.



Speegle says scientists haven’t yet identified a cause for the rise in seal deaths. But researchers and local residents have observed several changes to the seals and their habitat, such as lack of sea ice and an increase in illnesses.

“We have made some observations that the past couple years have been warmer than usual. So that’s one of many factors we’re looking into,” Speegle said. “We are also looking into the possibility that these animals may have been affected by harmful algal blooms, which also occur when the sea temperatures are warmer than usual.”

Both the ringed and bearded ice seals are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #66 on: September 16, 2019, 05:20:53 PM »
With Drilling ANWR a Go, Polar Bears Will Suffer
https://www.outsideonline.com/2402095/anwr-drilling-doi-polar-bears
Quote
Oil and gas exploration requires locating resource deposits and identifying drilling sites using seismic surveying. That process involves sending high pressure vibrations into the ground, at 135 foot intervals, across the entire region. To conduct that process, teams of 150 to 160 workers living in mobile camps must move heavy equipment over virtually every inch of the survey area using 90,000-pound trucks. And that process must occur in the winter, when the frozen ground can support the weight of those vehicles; the same time in which the bears are giving birth to cubs and raising them in dens through the first three months of their lives.
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

Bruce Steele

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #67 on: September 16, 2019, 05:29:14 PM »
Vox-Mundi , C-CAN (Calif. Current Acidification Network) will be hosting a talk by Dave Hutchins on the increased toxicity of pseudo nitzschia when exposed to both acidification and ocean heating. The domoic acid produced has caused fishery shutdowns , bird and marine mammal dieoffs . The Blob in 2014 ,and the heat produced, magnified the severity of damage produced by pseudo nitzschia blooms.
 I have a theory that disease should be an expected result of stress caused by , acidification, hypoxia and ocean heatwaves. We saw shellfish dieoffs of abalone, urchins, starfish, and other invertebrates in ocean heatwaves associated with the 1981-82 and 1997-98 El Niño’s and the 2014-2016 ocean heatwave here in the Calif. Current Ecosystem. Stress as a driver and disease as the kill mechanism.

https://c-can.info/c-can-oar-18-september-2019/

vox_mundi

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Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« Reply #68 on: September 16, 2019, 05:43:41 PM »
^
Bruce: That seems like a reasonable hypothesis.

The kill-chain appears to be a mosaic - acidification, hypoxia, heatwave, starvation & disease. The ecosystem is resilient against individual variables but it can't withstand simultaneous insults like that.

Things are also washing up on the other coast.

----------------

Summer of Blob: Maine Sees More Big, Stinging Jellyfish
https://phys.org/news/2019-09-summer-blob-maine-big-jellyfish.html

The Gulf of Maine and some of its beaches, ever popular with tourists, have recorded a high number of sightings of a big jellyfish that has the ability to sting swimmers and occasionally does.

The lion's mane jellyfish, the largest known variety, can grow to five or more feet across, with tentacles more than 100 feet long.

Such giant jellyfish are uncommon, but beachgoers say larger than average ones have been exceptionally plentiful this year in the gulf, which touches Maine, two other states and two Canadian provinces.

... Jellyfish are tracked each summer by Nick Record, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. Typically fewer than half the jellyfish reported are lion's manes. This year, almost all of several hundred jellyfish observed were the lion's mane variety.

If there are more large lion's mane jellyfish, Record said one possible reason is that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than most of the world's oceans, and the jellyfish can grow faster in warmer water.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late