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Saturation Point

Catch the Rhythm
By Karey Burek
Sep 11, 2008 - 10:19:25 AM

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Most of the Moon Jellies I saw had a beautiful lavender tint to the center of their bulbous bodies. Karey Burek Photo
  Everything seems to get into or follow a rhythm on planet earth.  From migrations to seasons, everything has its time and place in a pattern.  Some researchers even say that everything on the planet, even humans, are made of strings that flow and fluctuate in their own rhythm.  Pretty trippy stuff, but worth pondering over.  I started thinking about rhythms the other week when storms started developing and eventually threatening to become hurricanes—tis’ the season for the swirling storms.  After one of the named storm systems passed over the lower portion of Florida, environmentalists were claiming that the hurricane kept its strength because of the warm water located in this region.  The water they were referencing was of course Everglades National Park and Lake Okeechobee.  The storm actually kept its rhythm and replenished these dry habitats and flushed out the bad stuff, allowing for the good and natural stuff to flourish.

 These storms are devastating and I am in no way understating the fact that when a hurricane forms and is eyeing land, we all think “something wicked this way comes.”  But along with the terrible destruction, re-nourishment to the environment is a key factor in how Mother Nature provides a cleansing for certain watering holes, habitats and polluted areas.  The oceans churn like a huge washing machine and sometimes even throw creatures onto shore.

 After the storm a week or two ago came through the gulf and landed in Louisiana, there were significant effects on Honeymoon Island State Park by my house.  The waves were huge by our standards and beckoned surfers to plunged the tubes.  As I strolled on the sand and watched the surfboards fly, I ended up tip-toeing through Moon Jellies.  It wasn’t long ago (actually last spring) that I thought I was in the water with these stinging gelatinous creatures, only to discover they were harmless non-jellyfish jellies.  This time was a bit different.  The storm had rocked the shores and washed up these aliens that are translucent and honestly hard to see in the sunlight.  They pack a mighty sting, even when laying in wait on the shores.  Most of the Moon Jellies I saw had a beautiful lavender tint to the center of their bulbous bodies; this actually means that they eat extensively on crustaceans, according to the Monteray Bay Aquarium site.  They are so named Moon Jellies because of their shape and bell-like structure, looking like a full moon.

 Also according to this site, overabundant moon jellies indicate an unbalanced ecosystem. Scientists have discovered that jellies reproduce best when the water has too many nutrients—usually the result of run-off from land—and too little oxygen. The storms could be churning up the jellies and rebalancing the waters, flushing out harmful pollutants to create a healthier gulf.  I do believe that everything has a rhythm—my life, the music to my life, nature, ecosystems—the patterns are there if you look close enough.  Because of the graceful rhythm that all species of jellyfish keep, Monterey Bay Aquarium has a huge exhibit dedicated to the rhythm of the jellyfish.  California is far away, but you can bring their exhibits into your home by going to and watching the different kinds of jellies move through the water set to music. 

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