There may be a lot of beached jellyfish on the sand along the coast these days, but that’s primarily an indicator of a productive year for the strange and ancient creatures.
Jellyfish occur in many parts of the world, from the tropics to much cooler northern waters, but there are specific types that frequent the northern California coast, such as the "sea nettles" pictured here.
Carl Menard, Director of Aquatic Resources at the U.C.Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory, says the rich upwelling of nutrients the jellies have been feeding on is not indicative of a possible El Nino in the coming winter, but because of other factors, that can’t be ruled out altogether.
Two other common types of jellyfish often found along the North Coast are the Moon jellies (below left) and the valella valella, which has a sort of "sail" that can catch the breeze on the surface of the sea to propel it. But if it happens to catch on onshore wind, it may end up stranded on a beach.