Jellyfish Lake reopened to the public

Posted by Aimee Pace on 10 January 2019

For years, the experience of swimming among the millions of harmless jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake attracted tourists from far and wide, but when the archipelago experienced a severe drought in 2015 and 2016 and the El Niño current disrupted the natural state of the waters, the lake’s jellies began to disappear.

The lake was closed to the public to prevent the further decline in jellyfish numbers and it has just recently been reopened with jellyfish reportedly returning to its waters.


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What happened to Jellyfish Lake?

In the years before their disappearance, the golden jellyfish were 5-million strong. The Coral Reef Research Foundation of Palau monitors their numbers closely and is unsure as to what exactly caused the mature jellyfish to leave the lake; theories range from the delicate environmental conditions within the waters being disrupted to lack of food for the jellies due to strong currents.

The last mature jellyfish was seen in the lake in May 2016, however the number and maturity of the lake’s jellyfish has risen and scientists are sure that with a stable population of over 1-million recorded near the end of 2018, the jellyfish numbers will be able to recover this year. This has led to the lake being reopened to the public.

More about Jellyfish Lake

Jellyfish Lake is a meromictic lake, meaning it has layers of water that do not intermix. In ordinary, “holomictic” lakes, at least once each year, there is a physical mixing of the surface and the deep waters, whereas the mixing of the water layers of Jellyfish Lake would be unhealthy for its inhabitants and could cause irreversible damage. For this reason, deep diving is not allowed in the lake and only surface snorkelling is encouraged for travellers wanting to experience this unique thousand year-old environment.

The jellyfish that inhabit the lake are the modern rendition of various species that have adapted and changed over the years to be completely stingless.



Palau, known as a tropical paradise, is an archipelago of about 200 islands in the Micronesia region of the western Pacific ocean, 650 km southeast of the Philippines.

Learn more about Palau or its golden jellyfish, go here: Coral Reef Research Foundation of Palau

To support the foundation’s research, make donations here.



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Lost in jellyfish land. 📷:@estherzuline

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Picture: Facebook

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