The new project “Islands of gold: conservation of unique golden-jellyfish lakes in Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia” of researcher Lisa Becking, has received a grant from the Dutch World Wildlife Foundation (WNF-INNO Fonds).
Jellyfish lakes? Yes, these exist! Lakes filled with immense populations the golden-jellyfish (Mastigias papua) and the moonjelly (Aurelia aurita). Have a look at this video:
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Jellyfish lakes popular with tourists
These lakes are unique biotopes, worldwide only 13 golden-jellyfish lakes are known. They are located in Palau, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Palau, the lakes attract thousands of tourists each year, who wish to swim among millions of pink-gold gelatinous beings, as a break from their scuba-diving in the reef. Recently three such jellyfish lakes have been documented in Raja Ampat, Indonesia and they are starting to get attention from the tourism industry. There is, however, no conservation management plan or policy in place to protect these vulnerable ecosystems from exploitation and unregulated tourism.
Monitoring and Conservation Plan
Researcher Lisa Becking has conducted research in Raja Ampat since 2007 and is specialised in the ecology and evolution of marine lakes. With this project, she aims to set up a monitoring program and a conservation management plan, together with the local authorities and the University of Papua.
The WWF-INNO Fund aims to support Dutch organizations in innovative projects for international nature conservation within or outside the Netherlands. It is intended as a startup fund for a variety of projects, such as education, research, capacity building, etc. which yield insights that can preferably be used elsewhere by WWF.