May 21, 2015
Come explore the intriguing world of sea jellies at the Aquarium. Discover new animals, exhibits, films, programs, and more. Find out the fascinating truth about these beautiful yet mysterious animals and their importance to our ocean planet.
The Aquarium is now featuring new exhibits, films, and programs featuring sea jellies. A dozen jelly species will be on display at the Aquarium, with new ones rotated periodically as seasonal species become available. In total, there will be more than a thousand jellies in our collection this summer. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the variety of sea jellies and their importance in the ocean, their methods of reproduction, and how the Aquarium’s staff cares for and breeds jellies.
New sea jelly exhibits are located in the Southern California/Baja and the Wonders of the Deep galleries on the first floor and in the Northern and Tropical Pacific galleries on the second floor. There are also many new jelly-themed programs and activities. A new film, JELLIES: Transparent Travelers Through Time, will play daily in the Ocean Theater. See theater kiosk for times. A new Great Hall show, World of Jellies, also plays daily. Check the Show Times insert in the Aquarium’s Map and Visitor Guide for the schedule. In the Marine Life Theater outdoors near Shark Lagoon, two variety shows for kids and families will include a new jelly character, D-Jellytronic. Fishywood Squares plays at 1:30 p.m., and Singing Spectacular! plays at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Sea jellies have lived on Earth for around 700 million years, making them at least three times as old as dinosaurs. Jellies survive without a heart, brain, or lungs, and they have the simplest known nervous system among multicellular animals. They are 95 percent water, and their movements are governed by the flow of the water they live in. Sea jelly species come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and types. Some jellies and jelly-like creatures are just the size of your thumbnail at full size, while others grow up to 6 feet wide and have tentacles that reach more than 100 feet in length.
Sea jellies play an important role in the ocean as prey for other marine animals like sea turtles. They also have connections to humans, as food, potential sources of medicines, and as the source of a protein that is used as a marker in molecular biology research. Jellies are also representative of the gaps that still remain in human understanding of the World Ocean. They can help us better comprehend the ecosystems and changes taking place in the ocean, but there is little historical data on which to base current knowledge of their populations. With more funding for ocean exploration, research, and monitoring to identify where jellies are appearing in the ocean and when, scientists will be able to better understand the factors that affect their populations. These clues will help inform our actions to better conserve the environment and living resources.
The public can learn more about sea jellies from expert scientists by attending lectures in the ongoing Guest Speaker Series. Claudia Mills, who assisted in the development of the Aquarium’s new exhibits, will present a lecture on sea jellies on July 30. Mills studies a community of about seventy-five jelly species in the Pacific Northwest. Nate Jaros, assistant curator at the Aquarium, played a major role in the development of the Aquarium’s new sea jellies exhibits. In his lecture on August 18, he will discuss the process of creating new aquarium exhibits, describe how sea jellies are cared for and cultured at the Aquarium, and share his expertise on these ocean animals. Rick Brodeur, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, will discuss jelly blooms on September 10. All three lectures can be viewed live online.
Sea jellies will also be featured in the Aquarium’s Adopt an Animal program. Those who adopt a sea jelly receive a certificate and photo, an animal fact sheet, invitations to special events, and more. Donations to the Adopt an Animal program help to fund the Aquarium’s education and conservation initiatives, environmental programs, animal rehabilitation research, and important animal breeding efforts.