New app allows real-time warning of jellyfish presence and monitoring of most serious stings
The main objective of MedusApp is for users to send information on jellyfish presence. The app offers information on the danger of the species and warns on how to proceed when someone is stung.
It is the result of joint work between two former students of the Valencia Polytechnic University (UPV) and researchers from the University of Alicante, the thematic area of Respiratory Diseases (CIBERES) and the Immuno-Allergy Laboratory of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation Health Research Institute.
Alicante. Thursday 14 June 2018
MedusApp is the name of a new app that allows anyone to report the sighting of a jellyfish and offer a real-time map of places where their presence is detected. The app also offers information on the danger of different species and how to act when someone is stung.
It has been developed by two former students of the Polytechnic University of Valencia and researchers from the University of Alicante, the thematic area of Respiratory Diseases (CIBERES) and the Immuno-Allergy Laboratory of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation Health Research Institute (IIS-FJD).
The free app allows anyone to report jellyfish sighting, for which it sends both the photo of the species and estimated abundance and size. This information is published through the map on the website www.medusapp.net or directly from an option available on the app to access the same map. Users can also report other sightings, such as oil spills, foam, plastics, etc.
Besides, if users are stung, they can send a photo and other data, for instance time elapsed since the sting, if they had been stung before, or the species by which they were stung. These pictures, unlike the sightings, will not be published.
App developer and UPV Computer Engineering graduate Eduardo Blasco explains: “The main objective is for users to send information, which others will surely use to know if there are jellyfish. Other apps specifically warn users of the risk of jellyfish presence for each beach. In our case, however, we encourage users to provide real-time information themselves to create a map of the spots where jellyfish have been detected.”
“The app is easy to use: if a jellyfish is seen – from the shore or on a boat, logically – , you simply have to take a photo of the jellyfish and send it. When you do that, the GPS coordinates are also sent to create a real-time map of the places where these marine animals have been seen,” Blasco adds.
MedusApp also includes a teaching guide and pictures of the most common jellyfish in the Mediterranean and other areas, and an interactive first-aid guide, with advice on what to do if you are stung by different species. All this information is taken from the LIFE Cubomed project (www.cubomed.eu), in which UA researcher César Bordehore is involved alongside staff from the Spanish National Research Council’s Marine Science Institute in Barcelona. According to the UA marine ecology expert, “When we are stung by a jellyfish the most important thing is to remove the tentacles with a pair of tweezers or a plastic card, without rubbing, and deactivate the remaining stinging cells on our skin with a mixture of bicarbonate and seawater.”
MedusApp is available for both Android and iPhone and can be used online and offline, in case there is no coverage or you prefer to send information from a Wi-Fi network.
“This app is an example of what is known as citizen science. Our primary goal is for people to contribute data to science. We have made our small contribution as IT specialists so MedusApp users can make theirs by reporting sightings. We would like users to become scientists’ eyes in places they cannot reach,” Ramón Palacios, another MedusApp developer, points out.
All scientific and medical information obtained on stings is managed and analysed by the LIFE Cubomed project team. UA members of the team are researchers César Bordehore and Eva S. Fonfría, from the Institute for Environmental Research, CIBERES doctors Victoria del Pozo and Mar Fernández Nieto, and the Immuno-Allergy Laboratory of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation Health Research Institute (IIS-FJD).