If your bucket list includes swimming amongst the beautiful golden jellyfish which inhabit a famous saltwater lake in Palau, an island located in the western Pacific Ocean, you may soon be out of luck.
Long known as "Jellyfish Lake," this saltwater lake is much beloved for its stunning beauty, coral reefs, and incredible biodiversity. Earlier this year, the California and Palau-based Coral Reef Research Foundation estimated that the special golden jellyfish species in the lake is down from 8 million to around 600,000.
It's not entirely clear as to why these jellyfish are disappearing, but scientists postulate that a severe drought spurred by the extreme weather patterns of El Nino is largely to blame. Normally the thought of a jellyfish population decline would not be worrisome to most, as jellies are often considered dangerous pests to swimmers and beach-goers.
But in this particular case, the golden jellies are seen as a bright and vibrant symbol of the lake's health. Once again, we see a marine species being threatened by climate change and severe weather. We at Water Gallery feel a pit in our stomachs when we think about how rapidly our natural world is declining.
As always, reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve. Small, everyday changes can make a huge difference.