Three Gorges Probe

China dam construction suspected in surge of giant jellyfish in Japan

Mainichi Daily News
June 12, 2006

Japanese researchers plan to conduct a three-year study to investigate the causal relationship behind an increase in jellyfish off the coast of Japan and changes to the Yangtze River brought about by the Three Gorges dam.

Construction of the world’s largest hydropower dam in China has caused a surge in the number of giant jellyfish off the coast of Japan, researchers from Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies have suggested. Researchers plan to investigate the causal relationship behind the increase in the jellyfish in a study carried out over the next three years. It will be the first study on the connection between the jellyfish and the Three Gorges Dam in China. … One of the breeding areas for the jellyfish is thought to be the area near the mouth of the Yangtze River, near Shanghai. Construction of the dam, which spans the river, began in 1994. Akira Harashima and other researchers at the National Institute for Environmental Studies suspect that the dam has caused a major reduction in silicon, which is necessary for the breeding of diatoms, a type of phytoplankton. … A similar decrease in silicon in the Danube River accompanying the construction of a dam in the 1970s is thought to have led to an increase in jellyfish in the Black Sea at the mouth of the river.

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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