Irukandji and Box Jellyfish Will Invade Sydney Harbour

Professor Rob Harcourt of Macquarie University warns that if climate change continues unabated there will come a time that deadly irukandji and box jellyfish will invade Sydney Harbour. The warming of Australia’s east sea coast will precipitate the problem.

If this is true, it means that warmer currents are allowing deadly tropical species to survive further south. It will no longer be just trash that you will see on the popular beaches of Sydney Harbour, but deadlier species of marine animals that can hurt swimmers and surfers.

Every year, huge numbers of tropical marine animals travel down the east coast swept along in the East Australian Current. If is feared that with climate change growing worse all over the globe, irukandji and box jellyfish will eventually join this yearly migration.

Dangerous irukandji and box jellyfish have been suspected as the cause of death of a number of people. Sixty-four deaths are attributed to box jellyfish, while two deaths were caused by irukandji in North Queensland in 2002.

Viability of Irukandji and Box Jellyfish Migration

However, there are some people who don’t buy the idea that irukandji and box jellyfish can be swept by the EAC through that very long and wide expanse. The distance to the southernmost point from North of Townsville to the Sydney Harbour is more than 1000 miles.

Irukandji and box jellyfish are usually reported to thrive at water temperatures above 26°C. In laboratory tests, a one to two degree centigrade increase in temperature causes irreversible stress to marine life. If the cool temperature of their water environment is not maintained marine animals will quickly deteriorate.

Additionally, there is more dissolved oxygen in cooler water, enabling marine animals to absorb it using less energy. Cubozoans, the species of irukandji have higher metabolism than most jellyfishes. They require more oxygen and therefore are less tolerant and have low adaptability to any changes in their natural habitat.

Irukandji and box jellyfish can swim well and are able to navigate their way through any kind of local conditions. But majority of their species are tied to regions where their polyps (the beginning stages of the development of young jellyfishes) can survive.

Cubozoans have very narrow distributions. That means they probably have a hard time adapting to other environments different from their natural habitat.

Based on these facts, it seems that changes, specifically the increase in water temperature will have detrimental effects on irudkandji and box jellyfish. The claim of Professor Rob Harcourt should therefore be qualified by this fact.

The Author

Motivated and dynamic journalist with a strong interest in sustainable solar powered technology. My work in journalism and new media has provided me with a medium to produce content concerning emerging renewable energy.

×

John from Figtree, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar about 1 hour ago!

Tonia from Myrtleford, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 4 hours ago!

Doug from Hammondville, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar about 12 hours ago!

michael from Yarraville, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Jaimin from Keysborough, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Geoffrey from Warilla, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

Geoffrey from Warilla, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

Tim from Mornington, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 2 days ago!

Cecilia from Wagait Beach, Northern Territory asked for 3 quotes for solar 3 days ago!

su-en from Camp Hill, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 3 days ago!

Barry from Valley Heights, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 3 days ago!

Michael from Cooloola Cove, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 3 days ago!

Dave from Chelsea heights, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 4 days ago!

ken from Banksia Beach, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 4 days ago!

Ron and Lesley from Gisborne South, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 4 days ago!

Thomas from Lal Lal, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 4 days ago!

Chantal from Sydney, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Chantal from Sydney, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Cameron from Ararat, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!

Lisa from Paddington, New South Wales asked for 3 quotes for solar 5 days ago!