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The Jellyfish App Story

A chance meeting between Launceston businessmen and fishing partners Neil Johnson and Ian Goninon, and Hobart-based jellyfish expert Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, led to a clever yet simple idea to help anyone identify jellyfish and treat their stings.

Having fascinating information at your fingertips allowing you to identify a jellyfish is not only interesting, it can have lifesaving implications.

In September 2016 two Launceston businessmen, Neil Johnson and Ian Goninon, boarded a Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Cairns bound for a fishing charter on the remote Albany Island of Cape York. Also seated in their row was Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, the world’s leading authority on jellyfish.

Seated together for a long domestic flight, the trio’s shared passion for the water became apparent. Casual conversation rapidly turned to fascination when the topic turned to Dr Gershwin’s jellyfish expertise.

After answering a series of questions about predicting jellyfish locations and first aid, Lisa’s encyclopaedic knowledge impressed Neil so much he suggested it should be a global app.

"It was a long flight — we started talking about jellyfish and quite frankly we were just having a bit of fun, but the more I started to listen to her about her research the more I thought 'we need to make this into an app to let the world know'," Mr Johnson said.

At 30,000 feet the trio shook hands and The Jellyfish App was formed.

Since then, they’ve brought their idea to fruition, with Dr Gershwin providing comprehensive information on the over 200 species of jellyfish she has identified, and Mr Johnson and Mr Goninon providing funding for the app.

In keeping with their Tasmanian roots, and not wanting to go offshore to develop the app, they approached Launceston based award winning designers, Walker Designs. Walker Designs founder, Graeme Walker, and his team collaborated with the trio to develop the app. Walker Designs intend to include The Jellyfish App in upcoming design awards in both Tasmania and nationally.

Since launching in January 2017, interest in app has already outstripped all expectations, having being downloaded over 4,000 times by users in 49 countries. The app has also had requests to work with global marine research programmes.

With 280 species of jellyfish listed, from all around the world, as well as GPS location capabilities, the app is a world-first. It provides guides to identifying individual species, as well as treating their stings.

A special feature available on the paid version of the app allows users to send photos of jellyfish directly to Dr Gershwin, allowing her to give individual advice, as well as to add to the listings already in the app.

Constantly being updated and refined through feedback from tourist operators, recreational water users, researchers and industry, the app is also in the process of creating French and Chinese versions to aid with its reach internationally.

For more information check out the website, follow the team on Facebook, or simply search for ‘The Jellyfish App’ in your app store and discover it for yourself.

Books by

Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin

When Lisa is not busy identifying Jellyfish, she is writing about them.

392a Mastigias - Byron Coast - Denis Riek - brac259

Contact

Ask us a question, or just say Hi!  If you have a jellyfish question, you can now use the "Ask Dr Lisa" feature on the Pro Version of The Jellyfish App available on iTunes or Google Play.

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