So long humans.
And thanks for all the jellyfish.
If the oceans are indeed in steep decline, it may just be a triumph of the brainless -- namely, the humble jellyfish.
"The number of case studies is increasing," Lucas Brotz of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre told the Huffington Post, "And it certainly seems we are having a severe impact on the oceans that is making them less favourable for fish and more favourable for jellyfish in some places."
So far, the most direct impact -- aside from swimming into a cloud of the critters -- is being felt at the world's nuclear reactor sites.
Remember that backed-up nuclear site in Sweden last week?
Oskarshamn, one of the world's biggest nuclear plants, had to shut down for days after the intake pipes were found to be completely clogged.
"We had a huge invasion of jellyfish," plant spokesman Torbjorn Larsson told the Wall Street Journal. "Our staff calculated over a tonnne."
More specifically, about a tonne of Moon jellyfish.
For climate change deniers, this may pack an extra sting. If the world's jellyfish are taking it to the top, we may have a lot to do with it.
The Moon variety, for example, despite being brainless, appears to have mastered the hostile takeover.
Their bodies are built for extremes, able to withstand temperatures as low as -6 degrees C and as high as 31, not to mention an uncanny ability to slow its respiratory system to a crawl in low-oxygen waters. With ocean temperatures on the rise, and "dead zones" of severely depleted oxygen emerging, the humble jellyfish is exactly the sort of lean, mean aquatic machine we may expect to see a lot more of in the post-oceanic Apocalypse.
"Warmer oceans can influence jellyfish in a number of ways, such as increasing their reproductive output, increasing survival, expanding their ranges, or allowing them to be around for longer," Brotz explains.
Now, factor in a human propensity for strip-fishing.
"Many of the regions where jellyfish populations appear to be increasing are heavily fished or overfished," Brotz says.
That leaves a lot of wide open sea for jellyfish. And, of course, a lot of havoc to be wreaked on the machinery of humankind.
In addition to Sweden's nuclear stutter, last year saw California's Diablo Canyon facility grind to a halt due to "a rapid influx of jellyfish."
The fishing industry knows this gelatinous tide all too well. In 2009, the crew of the Japanese fishing trawler, Diasan Shinsho-maru, got a close-up of the fridge-sized terror known as Nomura’s jellyfish. Their nets had become so laden with the giants -- each weighing around 200 kg. -- the entire vessel tipped over, hurling the anglers into the sea, The Telegraph reported.
Tne notorious box jellyfish reportedly claims the lives of between 20 and 40 people in the Philippines alone, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Despite a recent rash of high-profile run-ins with humanity, it remains to be seen whether we're in the throes of a jellyfish uprising.
"The popular idea that jellyfish are increasing globally caught on quickly, and scientists are scrambling to catch up," marine biologist Rebecca Helm tells the Huffington Post. "We still don't know if there is in fact a global surge in jelly numbers. We are seeing localized increases in some areas."
But, she cautions, "We do not have a good baseline for what jelly populations were doing 100 years ago, this makes it difficult to determine if the fluctuations we're seeing today are the result of human activity, or a natural part of the jelly life cycle."
Although counting all the jellyfish in the ocean is a daunting and difficult task, their devastating impact on marine life -- and industry -- has come into sharp focus in recent years.
"There is a lot of uncertainty, due in part to the fact the fact that they have historically been ignored and understudied, as well as their very unique life cycles," Brotz explains.
But after surveying 45 marine ecosystems, Brotz found evidence of increases in 62 per cent of the regions studied.
Their emergence has prompted a stark warning, in a United Nations report, that jellyfish could own the world’s oceans in a "global regime shift from a fish to a jellyfish ocean.”
There are, of course, a few compelling reasons why jellyfish are so well-suited to inherit the seas.
Jellyfish will eat your lunch. From fish eggs to tiny plants, they can scour an ecosystem dry. And a herd of jellyfish, called a bloom, will 'eat almost everything in the water.' Needless to say, that doesn't leave much to dine on for the rest of the ocean's denizens.
“When an ecosystem is dominated by jellyfish, fish will mostly disappear,” Sun Song, director of China's Institute of Oceanology tells Environment360. “Once that happens,” he contends, “there is almost no method to deal with it.”
Few have a taste for jellyfish. And the creatures that do -- sea turtles, salmon and other culinary daredevils -- are in decline.
They have a Tribble's sense of spawning. Jellyfish essentially clone themselves -- creating tiny bundles, called polyps, that latch onto hard surfaces.
"When humans build structures in the oceans, such as marinas, wharves, breakwaters, aquaculture operations, oil rigs," Brotz explains, "They provide a massive amount of shaded structure. These structures may provide ideal habitat for jellyfish polyps, which then thrive and reproduce to create millions of baby jellyfish."
They laugh at death. In a rare effort to quell the tide of jellyfish, South Korean researchers built tiny Terminators, called JEROS, or Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm.
Essentially sucking jellyfish to their doom through propellors, JEROS can mulch a reported 400 kg of jellyfish per hour.
As wholesale jellyfish shredders, JEROS certainly make for impressive video -- even if some YouTube commenters suggest they amount to medieval torture devices.
Trouble is JEROS may also be making fertilizer.
"Removing jellyfish -- either by humans or robots -- is not a true 'solution,'" Lucas Brotz says, "Because jellyfish polyps can persist in the environment and produce new jellyfish year after year."
And, pity the hapless swimmer, caught in that wave of mutilation.
"If you want to protect tourists from stings, this will make the problem worse, releasing all those tentacles to float independent of their bodies, getting through the smallest mesh," biologist Rebecca Helm notes.
Or, as Helm notes, humans could embrace the coming Jellageddon -- figuratively speaking, of course.
"Farming jellies is a lucrative business in some parts of the world."
Indeed, she notes that in the state of Georgia, 'jellyballing,' as it's called, has grown into a major fishery.
China appears to be diving right in, building a multi-billion-dollar industry out of edible jellyfish.
China is among the first countries to process jellyfish for human consumption, particularly the edible Rhopilema esculentum, and is developing a multi-million-dollar seafood business based on jellyfish.
"I think the best solution to the jelly problem some areas are facing," she adds. "Is to improve our ability to predict when and where they will occur, and plan accordingly."
Elephant Votes in Thailand
Elephant puts a ballot in ballot box during campaign to promote the general election in Ayutthaya province on June 21, 2011. The July 3 general election will be the first since Thailand was rocked by its deadliest political violence in decades last year, when more than 90 people died in street clashes between armed police and opposition protesters. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP/Getty Images)
Feline Elvis Dies At Age 9
<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=726326990716438&set=a.561893947159744.145379.100000174321818&type=1&theater" target="_hplink">Elvis,</a> a Savannah cat, who weighed 24.8 pounds and measured 40 inches from tip to tail, recently died from a tumor in its sinus cavity.
Gemini, The Two Faced-Kitten
Sadly, Gemini, a kitten from Rhode Island, had a short life.
The odds of seeing these three together are roughly 1 in 900 quintillion -- but a series of timely donations has allowed Connecticut's Maritime Aquarium to put together one of the most unusual lobster displays ever. While the blue lobster is a 1 in a million catch, the orange and calico are even rarer -- with the odds of finding them roughly 1 in 30 million.
LEFT: The Stargazer fish which bears an uncanny resemblance to Homer Simpson. (Caters News / Getty Images)
At two weeks old, Beyonce, a Dachsund mix born at a Northern California animal shelter, is just under four inches long and is in the running for the title of World's Smallest Dog. Here she is pictured resting on an iPhone.
Sprinkles the Koala
'Sprinkles' the Koala following her life saving radiation treatment at the Brisbane Veterinary Specialist Centre in Brisbane, Australia, August 9, 2011. Suffering from an extremely rare case of excessive drooling, sprinkles developed a skin infection due to the excessive moisture flowing from her mouth.
Trouble, The Millionaire Dog
Hotel magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 million for her dog Trouble when she died in 2007, but a judge reduced the bequest to $2 million.
Alexander Lacey, Animal Trainer
Alexander Lacey, the big cat trainer for Ringling Brothers And Barnum & Bailey Circus, has been working with lions and tigers for 18 years, ever since he followed his dad into the business.
Charlie the Cat
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? No, it's Charlie -- an unlucky cat who happens to look just like the evil Lord Voldemort from the "Harry Potter" films. Charity workers are trying to find a new home for the British kitty, who lost his nose and ears to skin cancer.
Elephant in Water Reservoir
Indian army personnel use a bulldozer during a rescue mission to save a wild elephant trapped in a water reservoir tank at Bengdubi army cantonment area some 25 kms from Siliguri on August 30, 2011. A wild elephant fell into the water reservoir tank as a herd crossed the area. Army personnel of 16 Field Ammunition Depot along with wildlife elephant squad of Mahananda wildlife sanctuary joined forces to save the animal.
Dogs Behind The Wheel
The New Zealand SPCA taught dogs to drive as part of a campaign meant to demonstrate the intelligence or rescue dogs and boost adoption rates. Yes, these dogs are actually driving cars. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/dogs-driving-cars-new-zealand-spca_n_2244476.html" target="_hplink">Read the whole story here.</a>
Hania, a 4-year-old Great Dane, feeds her 3-day-old puppies in the Warsaw suburb of Nowa Iwiczna on March 17. Hania gave birth by cesarean section to 17 puppies.
Charles the Monarch
Charles the Monarch, a Labradoodle, looks so much like a lion that he has sparked multiple 911 calls from concerned citizens fearing that the king of beasts was on the loose
Elephant with Prosthetic Leg
Motala, age 50, rests in the afternoon sun with the new prosthetic made for her at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) elephant hospital in the Mae Yao National Reserve August 29, 2011 Lampang,Thailand. Motala lost a foot many years back after stepping on a land mine and now is on her third prosthetic, as they need to be changed according to the weight of the elephant. The world's first elephant hospital assists in medical care and helps to promote a better understanding of the elephant's physiology, important in treating them for illness. For generations elephants have been a part of the Thai culture, although today the Thai elephant mostly is domesticated animal, since Thailand now has few working elephants. Many are used in the tourism sector at special elephant parks or zoos, where they perform in shows. In some cases Thailand is still deals with roaming elephants on the city streets, usually after the mahout, an elephant driver, becomes unemployed, which often causes the elephant serious stress.
Ambam, a silverback gorilla at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England, shows off the stance that's turned him into a viral video sensation. Ambam doesn't do the typical ape walk -- he stands and struts like a person.
Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum
Heidi the cross-eyed opossum is pictured in her enclosure at the zoo in Leipzig, eastern Germany on June 9, 2011. Heidi moved to her new enclosure at the Gondwanaland tropical experience world, which will be inaugurated on July 1, 2011 and where Heidi will be presented to the public for the first time. Cross-eyed Heidi made the headlines in December 2010 and became an internet hit, winning more than 65,000 "friends" on social networking website Facebook.
Shortest Roadworthy Car
The "Mirai", which means 'future' in Japanese, measures 17.79 inches from the ground to highest part of the car. It was created by students and teachers of The Automobile Engineering Course at Okayama Sanyo High School in Asakuchi, Japan.
This photo provided by Sean McAfee from Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, shows a dead raccoon that McAfee saw with the road dividing line painted over it before he stopped his motorcycle to take the picture on Franklin Rd. in Johnstown, Pa. According to PennDOT traffic engineer John Ambrosini, paint crews know to avoid such animals and usually have a foreman on the job to clear any dead animals off the road before the paint-spraying truck equipment passes by. This crew didn't have a foreman that day, and the equipment was too big to turn around in traffic on the curvy, narrow road so the line could be repainted without the carcass in the way.
Open Rabbit Sport Tournament
Lisa Marie Bach leads her pet rabbit Marie through an obstacle course in the middle-weight category at the 5th Open Rabbit Sport Tournament (5. offene Kaninchensport Turnier) on August 28, 2011 in Rommerz near Fulda, Germany. Eighty rabbits competed in light-weight, middle-weight and jumping-for-points categories at today's tournament in Rommerz that is based on Kanin Hop, or Rabbit Hopping. Rabbit Hopping is a growing trend among pet rabbit owners in Central Europe and the first European Championships are scheduled to be held later this year in Switzerland.
Catherine Baucom, Surgeon, Avoids Traffic Jam By Riding Child's Bike To Operating Room
When a traffic jam kept surgeon Catherine Baucom from driving to work to meet a patient, she borrowed the bike of a 7-year-old and started pedaling.
A group of lemurs encounters a unusual roadblock on the way to their feeding den: a turtle. The lemurs clearly don't want to get into a territorial spat with the creature... so they take turns leaping over it in this photo sequence shot at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Look at that coat! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/ikea-monkey-toronot_n_2270707.html?1355150852" target="_hplink">This little animal</a> got loose in an IKEA parking lot in Toronto. It was apparently scared, but eventually was reclaimed by its owners who were inside the store when the monkey escaped from its cage.
Andre The Turtle
Thirteen months ago, Andre the turtle suffered massive injuries from boats that left a massive hole in his shell and the inside of his body exposed to the elements. However, thanks to some innovative treatments, including using orthodontic techniques to repair his shell and a vacuum treatment on open wounds, he is scheduled to be set free on Aug. 3.
A new-born rabbit without ears is held in Namie City, just outside the 30km exclusion zone of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The owner of the rabbit says it was born without ears on May 7.
China Liger Cubs
In this photo taken on Thursday, May 19, 2011, a dog nurses two liger cubs at a zoo in Weihai in east China's Shandong province. Cong Wen of Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo in eastern China says four cubs were born to a female tiger and a male lion on May 13. The tiger mom fed the ligers for four days then for unknown reasons abandoned them, she says. Chinese zoo workers brought in a dog to nurse them instead, but two died of weakness. (AP)
Animals In The News
This pet duck, named 'Duckie,' won't hurt himself on the hot sands of San Diego's beaches thanks to a pair of customized booties made especially for him. Previously, the owner, who goes by the name "Miss Love," had been putting duct tape over his feet instead.
The "alien" creature discovered in South Africa on July 10, 2013 is actually a baboon, a local veterinarian confirmed this week. The next slide is a close-up of the animal's head.
Cat Cafes Threatened In Tokyo
TOKYO - JANUARY 20: A woman strokes a cat at Nekorobi cat cafe on January 20, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. Changes to Japan's Animal Protection Law threaten the future of these furry bars by imposing a curfew on cats and dogs. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)
Elephant Polo -- Sept. 2011
Elephant polo players from the Spice girls team (left) and the British Airways British Army team battle it out for 5th place during the final day at the King's Cup Elephant polo tournament Sept. 11, 2011, in Hua Hin, Thailand.This year marked the 10th edition of the polo tournament with 12 international teams participating for the unusual annual charity sports event.
Rebecca Reichart, Leroy Nunez, Nicholas Coutu, Claudia Grant, Kenneth Krysko
In an Aug. 10, 2012 photo provided by the University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History researchers, from left, Rebecca Reichart, Leroy Nunez, Nicholas Coutu, Claudia Grant and Kenneth Krysko examine the internal anatomy of the largest Burmese python found in Florida to date, on the University of Florida campus. The 17-foot-7-inch snake weighed 164 pounds and carried 87 eggs in its oviducts, a state record. Following scientific investigation, the snake will be mounted for exhibition at the museum for about five years, and then returned for exhibition at Everglades National Park. (AP Photo/University of Florida, Kristen Grace)
Bear in Hot Tub
Jenny Sue Rhoades sat down on her couch to watch television when something outside caught her eye. It was a large Florida black bear walking through the back yard of her Barry Court home in southwest Seminole County.
Posing Praying Mantis
Giant Malaysian Shield Praying Mantis pictured in Igor's studio in Munich, Germany.
Of course she's unhappy. Who likes getting weighed right after the holidays? This is Agathe, a cane toad, and she's sitting on a toy scale during an annual animal inventory at the Hanover Zoo in Germany on Jan. 5. Agathe weighs a slight hop over 4 pounds.
Piglet In Hotel Lobby
This adorable injured baby pig was found roaming a hotel lobby near Honolulu's airport. The Hawaiian Humane Society renamed her Pukalani and says she'll be available for adoption later in March.
The flattened and preserved reptile is at the center of possible legal action against three area men charged with it's theft and subsequent display on a Ford pickup at a nearby mud-bogging party in Michigan.
Dog With Man's Face
Meet Tonik, a poodle-shih tzu mix that is up for adoption at <a href="https://www.homewardboundawg.com/" target="_hplink">Homeward Bound Pet Rescue</a> in Mishawaka, Ind. (Credit:<a href="http://www.petphotosbyrenny.com/" target="_hplink"> Renny Mills Photography</a>)
Roo the Reading Dog
Roo the Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D) helps a pupil at Graytown Elementary School in Graytown, Ohio.
Star the Duck
District councils have slapped a collecting ban on one of the West Country's most loveable characters - Star, the bowtie wearing DUCK (pictured) See SWNS story SWDUCK; Star the duck, who has raised more than £6,500 may be forced to quit after he has been told he is no longer allowed to collect for Children's Hospice South West without a permit. District councils believe Star should be fair to all charities and want to limit how often members of the public are asked to donate by various organisations to avoid it becoming "irritating." His owner, Barrie Hayman, from Bideford, Devon, was left furious at the decision and wants to try and raise the most money possible for the sick children.
'Cupid' The Cat -- Jan. 2012
This stray orange tabby in Houston earned the nickname 'Cupid' after he survived a piercing shoulder to shoulder wound in January 2012. A vet safely removed the arrow and 'Cupid' is expected to make a complete recovery.
Britain's Saddest Puppy
Six-month-old puppy Princess has such delicate skin she can't go outside. While other dogs run free at Britain's Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, Princess must gaze through the window. But this canine, otherwise known as Britain's Saddest Puppy, has become a minor celebrity in the media.
Giant Shark Caught In Mexico.
Two fishermen in northeastern Mexico claim they netted a dead great white shark estimated to be near 20-feet-long on April 15, 2012.
World's Smallest Cow
Swallow, an 11-year-old sheep-sized cow from the West Yorkshire region of England, is one of the stars of the 2011 edition of "Guinness World Records." This 33-inch-high Dexter is the world's smallest cow.
Lion Tries to Eat Baby Dressed as Zebra
This situation sounds scary, but it's actually quite cute. A lion at the Oregon Zoo tries to get a baby! One-year-old Jack was visiting the zoo with his family while wearing a black and white striped jacket. There were lots of children at the zoo that day, but the lion only came over whenever Jack sat down by the glass. The lion scratched and bit the glass partition separating the two, but the he seemed to be unphased by the commotion. Some think the lion thought Jack looked like a baby zebra.
Seal Pup Survivor
This little seal was nearly strangled to death when it got tangled up in a discarded G-string thong near the Lovers Leap Cliffs of New Zealand. Luckily, a passerby saw the panicked pup, and conservation workers were able to free the animal from the offending garment.
Kitten Found In Car Engine
After driving about 85 miles to Santa Cruz, Calif., a man discovered that this runaway kitten had been inside his car's engine in March 2012.
Shar Pei Nurses Endangered Tiger Cubs
In this picture taken, Monday, June 4, 2012, Shar Pei dog Cleopatra feeds two baby tigers in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia. Two baby tigers whose mother refused to feed them found an unusual wet nurse, a wrinkled, sand-colored Shar Pei dog named Cleopatra. The cubs were born in late May in a zoo at the October health resort in Sochi.
Horse rescued from pool
The horse, which is boarded on the 4 acres of land next to the O'Brien's home, backed into the swimming pool where it became trapped. Officials with the Brevard Zoo, a veterinarian, and the Brevard County Fire Department responded along with a hazardous materials team. The horse was not injured.
Two Legged Lamb
A farmer in China's Shandong province has saved a two-legged lamb after being touched by its struggle to survive. Farmer Cui Jinxiu said the lamb was one of two born in July 2010. "The first one was a very healthy and normal one," she told Rex USA. "However, the second one surprised me. With a further look I was surprised to find that the lamb only has two legs." The family thought the lamb wouldn't survive, but it proved its strong desire to live. "I thought of dumping it after it was born, but the next morning it even stood up by itself."
Orangutan Kicks Smoking -- Sept. 2011
An orangutan in Malaysia is kicking its smoking habit. Wildlife officials have removed Shirley from a state zoo after the captive primate was regularly spotted smoking cigarettes that zoo visitors had tossed into its enclosure.
World's Smallest Living Cat -- Oct. 2011
Fizz Girl, a Munchkin Cat from San Diego, Calif., has grabbed the record title for Shortest Living Cat. Measuring in at just 6 inches tall from floor to shoulder, Fizz Girl weighs 4 pounds, 2.3 ounces. Munchkin cats are a special breed that have little legs caused by a naturally occurring genetic mutation.