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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Read About This Angel

Courtesy of Laura Aguon, Science, off the coast of Waikiki Beach.

Dr. Angel Yanagihara has been studying jellyfish for over two decades.

A recent article in Science describes her professional situation, "Among the world's public health problems, jellyfish stings may seem trivial."

But not to Dr. Yanagihara, ocean swimmers or anyone who has been stung by a jellyfish.

"While everyone seems to ask open water swimmers about sharks, it is really the jellyfish that present a more ubiquitous problem for swimmers in the ocean," observes Steven Munatones. "Most jellyfish stings do not result in a swim being aborted, but they certainly give the swimmers something pretty significant to think about and deal with for several minutes or perhaps up to a few hours."

Then, of course, there is the box jellyfish.

Up to 40 people die from box jellyfish stings annually in the Philippines alone according to the U.S. National Science Foundation. "But because death certificates are not required in many countries within the range of box jellyfish, worldwide fatalities from box jellyfish may be seriously underestimated," writes the National Science Foundation.

Chloë McCardel encountered box jellyfish in her DNF swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys in 2013 [see photo on left]. "My hips were locked, I felt like I was compressed, I felt paralyzed from the waist down, I couldn't get any forward movement. This was something I've never experienced and I hope never to experience again."

The Science article about Dr. Yanagihara and her work is wonderfully educational [read Jellyfish almost killed this scientist. Now, she wants to save others from their fatal venom].

For more information on Dr. Yanagihara, visit the Pacific Biosciences Research Center here.

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