People on the Kenai Peninsula are seeing more dead jellyfish than usual along the coast. In fact, the scene near Homer appears to be a catastrophe.
 
Hundreds of jellyfish have washed up on Clam Gulch State Recreation Area beaches. Sparking the question, what is going on in the ocean?
 
After a few calls, an expert at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries had an answer.
 
Biologist Kristin Cieciel runs a monitoring project on Alaska jellyfish. She has conducted ecosystem surveys since 2004 in the Bering Sea, in the Gulf of Alaska from 2010-2017 and in the Chukchi Sea this year.
 
Cieciel identified the jellyfish dying near Homer as chrysaora melanaster. They are more commonly known as the northern sea nettle or brown jellyfish.
 
 
Dead jellyfish near Homer have washed up on the shore at the Clam Gulch Recreation Area last weekend.

“Die offs are common, however, this is a little earlier than when we usually see die-offs for this species in Alaska,” Cieciel wrote in an email. “Temperatures in spring have been warmer and could have started the entire life cycle earlier, which would shift the die-off to earlier.” 

Cieciel warns that jellyfish washing up on the shore can still sting and anyone trying to handle them should use gloves.
 
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