WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – There's a new website to help beachgoers and others track jellyfish sightings along the North Carolina Coast.
The site was developed by a biology professor at Appalachian State University with the hope of raising awareness.
While beachgoers can stalk the jellyfish and know what areas to avoid, the website will help researchers discern patterns and track their movement.
"The number of jellyfish worldwide has been increasing as well as the number of sightings along our coastline," said site designer Vicki Martin in a news release. "The increase is affecting the state's seafood industry and ultimately could have an effect on tourism."
The interactive website allows viewers to log information whenever they spot a jellyfish, including date, time of day, weather and water conditions, and the type of jellyfish seen.
Jellyfish can generally be spotted along the coast from April to November, but they have been spotted much earlier in some locations because of the changing weather patterns.
"Changing conditions within our ocean, including increased acidity and warmer water temperatures are killing some organisms but not jellyfish," said Martin. "They are thriving in these conditions."
Jellyfish can deliver a painful sting even after they are dead, so individuals are urged to observe them only and not touch them.