Jellyfish/food futures reading list

Spineless, Juli Berwald
book

“Jellyfish Blooms: advances and challenges”
link
As jellyfish interactions with humans increase in coastal waters, there is an urgent need to provide science-based management strategies to mitigate the negative socioeconomic impacts of jellyfish blooms and to exploit potential benefits of their ecosystem services. This Theme Section presents the latest advances in jellyfish research, from new sampling methods to food-web and life-cycle studies. The methodological advances presented will help to overcome difficulties in sampling due to the fluctuations in abundance and irregular distributions of jellyfish.

“Eating Jellyfish: safety, chemical and sensory properties”
link
People’s preference for fish with a high trophic level, like Atlantic cod and tuna, leads to a large food footprint. Responsible seafood consumption should include underutilised local products; hence the culinary use of edible jellyfish can be an effective contribution. The present work focused on Catostylus tagi to contribute to the consumption of edible jellyfish in the West.

FOOD FUTURES

Agriculture, Climate Change and Food Security in the 21st Century: Our Daily Bread, Lewis H. Ziska
link
This book explores the history of agriculture, and the threat that climate change imposes for all aspects of our “daily bread”. While these challenges are severe and significant, it argues that we are not without hope, and offers a wide range of solutions, from polyculture farming to feminism that can, when applied, lead to a better future for humankind.

“Moving from ‘‘matters of fact’’ to ‘‘matters of concern’’ in order to grow economic food futures in the Anthropocene,” Ann Hill
link
Agrifood scholars commonly adopt ‘‘a matter of fact way of speaking’’ to talk about the extent of neoliberal rollout in the food sector and the viability of ‘‘alternatives’’ to capitalist food initiatives. Over the past few decades this matter of fact stance has resulted in heated debate in agrifood scholarship on two distinct battlegrounds namely, the corporate food regime and the alternative food regime. In this paper I identify some of the limitations of speaking in a matter of fact way and of focusing on capitalist and neoliberal economies as the yardstick by which to assess all food economy initiatives. Using stories of bananas in Australia and the Philippines I advocate for a new mode of critical inquiry in food scholarship that focuses on matters of concern. Following Bruno Latour I use the term critical inquiry to refer to research methods and thinking practices that multiply possible ways of being and acting in the world. The new mode of critical inquiry I propose centers on enacting three broad research matters of concern. These are (1) gathering and assembling economic diversity (2) human actancy and (3) nonhuman actancy. I argue that through becoming critical minds in the Latourian sense researchers can play a key role in enacting economic food futures in the Anthropocene.

“Future of Food: How We Cook,” Nicola David et al
link
Rustling up a meal becomes a whole new experience when you can print your own food, use a smart oven or have a robot do all the work for you

IFTF: Food Futures Lab

In 2017, the Food Futures Lab will conduct a deep dive into the motivations, aspirations, and strategies of eaters as they adapt to this emerging world and look to food as a lever for transformation. To gain insight into this future, we will map the strategies that eaters around the world are using to ensure they are eating safe, nutritious, sustainable, and delicious food.

 

University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures

Based at the University of Sheffield, we are an interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to research and deliver sustainable agri-food systems in order to provide sufficient safe, affordable and nutritious food for all.

Home

The world is increasingly urban. W hat urban dwellers eat now and will eat i n the future, and how this food is brought to them, will impact the sustainability of our food systems. We therefore need to work on urban food systems – i.e.

the gulf is a dead zone

jell hell. Credit: Dauphin Island Sea Lab In the Gulf of Mexico’s densest jelly swarms, there are more jellyfish than there is water. More than 100 jellies may jam each cubic meter of water.

 

To kick the jellies off, I found on the NSF site a great primer on jellyfish:

Gulf of Mexico

THE BIGGEST DEAD ZONE IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

The white sands and sparkling emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico’s beaches belie a dirty little (open) secret: a huge Dead Zone that is devoid of almost all life except jellyfish is expanding in the Gulf of Mexico. During the summer of 2008, the Gulf’s Dead Zone covered about 8,000 square miles, about the size of Massachusetts. It is expected to soon reach about 10,000 square miles.

CREATION OF THE DEAD ZONE
The Gulf’s Dead Zone is produced every summer by tons of fertilizer, sewage and animal wastes that are continuously dumped into coastal waters by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. These pollutants do their dirty work by fertilizing huge algae blooms that decay through a process that robs Gulf waters of oxygen. Most sea creatures flee or suffocate to death in the Dead Zone’s oxygen-starved waters, leaving highly adaptable jellyfish to proliferate unrestrained by predators and competitors and to gorge on the Gulf’s bounty of plankton.

GROWING JELLYFISH POPULATIONS
The most abundant species of jellyfish in the Gulf are the sea nettle and moon jellyfish, which typically swarm over hundreds and perhaps even thousands of square miles each summer. Studies show that these species became significantly more abundant and expanded their ranges during the 1980s and 1990s. Moreover, since 2000, the Gulf has hosted invasions of several non-native jellyfish species, including the Australian jellyfish.

Signs that the Australian jellyfish is satisfied with its adopted Gulf home include its tendency to swell from its usual fist-size to the size of dinner plates in the Gulf. In addition, the Gulf’s population of Australian jellyfish is steadily growing and expanding its range; this species recently reached North Carolina.

– https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/jellyfish/textonly/locations_gulfmexico.jsp

 

Is it hyperbole to say devoid of almost all life? I mean, people still fish, there are still dolphins. Just not very much of anything.

Making the best of it 2016

New year, new thread, I’m on sabbatical from ITP, and starting almost 3 months of deep research out of town – in the Gulf of Mexico, and in Minneapolis for a new umbrella project called Making the Best of It. Here’s a nano description:

Making the Best of It is the umbrella concept for a series of regionally site-specific pop up food shacks and community dinners that feature a climate-change enabled (and often unwanted) edible indicator species, in order to engage publics in tastings and conversation about the risks of climate chaos, our business-as-usual food system, and the short term food innovations at our disposal.

March – I’ll be at CENHS at Rice University

April – Minneapolis, through northern.lights.mn

May – Rising Waters Confab, Rauschenberg residency Program, Captiva Island

 

In the Gulf, I’m focused on jellyfish as an edible signal species.

In Minneapolis, a team of awesome artists (Valentine Cadieux, Aaron Marx, Sarah Peterson) and I are working with Northern Lights to produce 13 months of programming around eating dandelions.

I’ll be logging research and development on jellyfish and the Gulf. Oh, and hopefully the Port of Houston. I’ve been working on the firewall of maritime shipping and “Harmonized System” code that keeps us from the oceans. there’s a show up at bitforms of this work Feb 14-Apr 3.  It’s called MORE&MORE.

 

Jellyfish/Plankton/Plastics tangle continues

Animals that eat jellyfish also eat plastic bags
Animals that eat plankton or fish eggs also eat plastic pellets
Animals that eat fish also eat plastic.

Nurdles, Before - During - After (phots from flickr)

Nurdles: Before - During - After (photos from flickr)

MSNBC  posted a story  on April 9, about leatherback turtles’ diet of plastic bags.

A new study looked at necropsy reports of more than 400 leatherbacks that have died since 1885 and found plastic in the digestive systems of more than a third of the animals.

Leatherback turtles are critically endangered and highly charismatic creatures. They are big, weighing 1,000 pounds or more, with shells that can measure more than 6 feet across. These peaceful creatures have had the same basic body plan for 150 million years.

Leatherbacks are also popular for what they eat: namely, large quantities of jellyfish. The problem is that plastic bags look a lot like jellyfish, and plastic often ends up in the oceans, piling up in areas where currents — and turtles — converge.

Plastic can block a turtle’s gut, causing bloating, interfering with digestion, and leading to a slow, painful death. “I can’t imagine it’s very comfortable,” he said. “Their guts weren’t designed to digest plastic.”

There are vast fields of trash floating in the world’s oceans, Sasso added. And leatherback turtles travel thousands of miles each year, giving them even more opportunities to come in contact with it.

“This is an animal that has survived many extinction events,” James said, “And now it’s got all these anthropogenic hazards to face.”

And there’ve been a spate of publications on the amount of plastic – both nurdles, which are plankton or fish-egg -sized industrial plastic pellets from manufacturing shopping bags, dollar-store articles, and construction material that ends up in the oceans, and consumer plastic (bottles, bags, buckets, etc), which breaks down into ever-smaller pieces but does not completely degrade. This stat is from 2001:

There is now six times more plastic debris in part of the North Pacific Ocean than zooplankton, the populous animal plankton that forms the base of the aquatic food chain.
– C. J. Moore, S. L. Moore, M. K. Leecaster and S. B. Weisberg (December 2001). “A Comparison of Plastic and Plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre”, Marine Pollution Bulletin 42)

Granted this statistic has been rejected because it only reflects an analysis made in the Pacific Gyre, a confluence of currents and thus a concentration of the contents of what’s carried on them;  but even so, the volume of plastics is not decreasing. Some solutions: don’t take plastic bags, get refillable canteens for water. Reconsider the purchase of synthetics which may discharge plastics on the manufacturing process. Consider what else you can do with the plastics you are about to throw in the garbage.

If fish are eating plastic nurdles, then so are we if we eat fish.

Here’s more nurdle info:
http://www.nurdlesaretheenemy.com/

http://theurbancoaster.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=179&Itemid=92&lang=en

http://ewasteguide.info/more-plastic-plankto

Jellyfish Gone Wild

It’s spring break the oceans over.

Sign on beach in Australia. Credit: Dr. Jamie Seymour, James Cook University

Sign on beach in Australia. Credit: Dr. Jamie Seymour, James Cook University

Australia’s beaches regularly host many types of toxic gelatinous animals, including the notorious Portuguese Man-of-War and Chironex fleckeri, a type of box jellyfish that is the world’s most venomous animal; a Chironex can kill a person in under three minutes.

In addition, some species of potentially deadly box jellyfish known as Irukandji jellyfish are currently increasing in number in Australian waters, possibly because of climate change. These peanut-sized jellyfish are small enough to slip through nets that protect Australia’s beaches from their larger Chironex cousins.
The National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has published an extensive report on the Dead Zone/jellyfish connections, but I thought I’d quote the article’s description of the upsides of jellyfish:

ECOLOGICAL ROLES OF JELLYFISH

Plying the world’s oceans for over 500 million years, gelatinous creatures have influenced marine communities almost as long as marine communities have existed.

As prey, gelatinous creatures are eaten by seabirds, pink salmon, sun fish, turtles and other gelatinous creatures.  (Animals that eat jellyfish are not impacted by their stings.)  As predators, gelatinous creatures eat fish eggs and larvae, invertebrates, small, floating creatures called zooplankton and other gelatinous creatures.

Scientists are continuing to identify new ecological services provided by jellyfish.  For example, recent studies show that the tentacles dangling from the Bering Sea’s large jellyfish provide hiding places for young pollock that are pursued by other predators but have grown too big for the jellyfish to eat.

…This last upside, while über poetic (Jellyfish-as-beaded-curtain; Quick! let’s duck out of harm’s way and hide in this undulating petticoat) does make me wonder if the upsides are outweighed by an anvil-load of problems.

Jellyfish + Sci Fi Rhetoric