IOI-KIDS Best Project Competition 2010 – Online Voting
The Spot the Jellyfish campaign is coordinated by Prof. Aldo Drago with the technical and scientific implementation of Dr. Alan Deidun and staff of IOI-MOC, and enjoys the support of the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) and of Nature Trust, Friends of the Earth, EkoSkola and the BlueFlag Malta programme. The initiative is funded through the IOI Women, Youth and the Sea programme known as IOI-Kids and follows a citizen science approach, relying on the collaboration of the general public, mariners, divers, and especially the younger generations through their teachers and parents, by recruiting their assistance in recording the presence and location of different jellyfish through the use of a dedicated colourful reporting leaflet. The leaflet was widely distributed, and could be directly downloaded from www.ioikids.net/jellyfish, which is replete with snippets and anecdotes about different jellyfish species. With the support of MTA, large posters have furthermore been projected on boards along major bays on both islands. The main aim of the initiative was to foster awareness amongst the younger generations and the public in general of the diversity of gelatinous plankton in our waters.
The reporting was done by simply matching the sighted jellyfish with a simple visual identification guide, giving the date and time of the sighting, and indicating the number of jellies seen. Sightings could also be reported online or submitted through an SMS on 79 222 278, or by sending an email message to email@example.com. Strange jellyfish not included on the leaflet were caught and kept in a bucketful of seawater prior to contacting IOI-MOC staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) for retrieval to attempt a definite identification of the species. If this is not possible, photos of the same individuals were taken.
Over three hundred and sixty reports of different jellyfish species have been submitted by the public, and can be viewed online on a summary map (http://188.8.131.52/jellyfish/stats.html) which depicts jellyfish occurrence and distribution. Some of the jellyfish species reported constitute first records for local coastal waters, including Porpita porpita (the blue button), which was reported by an 11-year-old girl and Aequorea sp., which belongs to the crystal jellyfish group. Other cnidarian species recorded included the notorious siphonophore Portuguese-man-o-war (Physalia physalis), by-the-wind sailor (Velella velella), both of which are actually colonies of hundreds of different polyps, the ubiquitous mauve stinger (Pelagia noctiluca), the cigar jellyfish (Olindias phosphorica) and the fried egg jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata). Ctenophore species recorded during the initiative include Leucothea sp. and Beroe ovata, whilst a number of pelagic tunicates, namely pyrosomes (e.g. Pyrosoma maxima) and salps (e.g. Salpa maxima). The initiative will ensue during the winter months.
Further info: http://www.ioikids.net