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Reports of big jellyfish in Maine used to predict your chances of seeing one

A local expert is following jellyfish year-round, and developing a way to forecast their sightings in the Gulf of Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine — By now, you may have seen the stunning images of lion's mane jellyfish in the water and on Maine's coastline.

This summer, the most striking aspect has been the size of them.

Jellyfish are tracked each summer by Nick Record, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay.

"This year has been a little bit different. We have seen almost entirely lion's mane jellies with very few reports of anything else, and people often tell me how big they are or send photos," Record said.

Giant Lion's Mane jellyfish seen in shallow water off the coast of Bar Harbor.

Over the last few years, he's developed a way to predict the chance of encountering a lion's mane and other jellies in the Gulf of Maine.

RELATED: Summer of Blob: Maine sees more big, stinging jellyfish

"My dream is just like we have weather forecasts, we can get forecasts for all kinds of things in the environment," Record's work is part of an ecosystem forecasting program, known as the Ecocaster

The "jellyfish encounter forecast" incorporates actual sightings, weather and environmental factors including the wind direction, ocean currents and water temperature to predict the chance of seeing one.

Credit: https://eco.bigelow.org/jellycast

The more citizen reports, the better the forecast, Record says. 

You can check out the forecast here.

Paddlers came across the three-foot lion's mane jellyfish on July 14.

If you see jellyfish, you are encouraged to submit a report to Bigelow Lab, and use the hashtag #MaineJellies on social media.

RELATED: Massive lion's mane jellyfish gives Acadia tourists a roaring sight