Jellyfish

Fried Eggs in Spain

Two weeks ago, I joined 220 scientists from every continent except Antarctica for five days of jam-packed gelatinous joy in Barcelona. The Jellyfish Blooms Symposium started fifteen years ago with just a few dozen or so scientists gathering in Alabama. But as many of the original conveners pointed out, both attendance and interest have bloomed over the …

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Bad-Ass Comb Jellies

Jellyfish biologists gathered at a meeting called Ctenopalooza in Florida a couple weeks ago, and dumped some big news on the jellyfish world. And in the words of my 11-year old daughter, it left me thinking, “What the poop?” Back when I first learned about comb jellies in the 80’s they were lumped together with your standard …

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Little Jellies and Big News

Last year, I wrote about the world’s biggest animals – and jellies topped the charts. Now, we know jellyfish dominate the opposite end of the animal spectrum too. A jellyfish was just declared the smallest animal in the world. These minute beings were so problematic when they were first discovered living embedded in the tissues of fish, …

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JPF: Jellyfish Protection Factor

Although I have been working on Spineless for four years, I never really had a meaningful jellyfish sting. This was something that I felt weirdly ashamed of, especially when so many people I talk to about jellyfish tell me of their blistering run-ins and my daily Google newsfeed on jellyfish often brings me disturbing sting stories. How …

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Denizens of the Deep

A few years ago, the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer was on the third and final leg of 57-day expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. Its remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, called Little Hercules was deployed in the water approaching an unidentified shipwreck. The Okeanos was streaming its mission live, and I watched it from the …

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Beyond Medusa

My last post on how jellyfish got the name Medusa made me wonder about names of jellyfish in general. Have other cultures seen the same connections between jellyfish and the monster? Or do they see the angel side of the jellyfish, the diaphanous graceful aspect? It’s not so easy to find answers to these questions on the …

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Jet-Set Jelly Blooms

Summer is a time when jellyfish party, and this year is no exception. For the last few months, all around the northern hemisphere, it’s been a jelly bash. Starting in the Pacific, here’s a globe-trotting tour of what’s been happening beneath the waves. In early summer, I wrote about the vast regattas …

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Horsemint by Any Other Name

Near my house is a piece of land that has been long forgotten by most of Austin. It’s an oasis hidden behind a row of ugly rectangular government buildings that intimidate trespassers. People with dogs that like to run off leash whisper its location to one another. That’s how I found out …

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By-the-wind Sailor

Since April, hordes of bright blue jellies have been stranding themselves on the Pacific coast. Reports from Oregon and Washington started washing in mid-April with numbers of jellies in the thousands. They swept down the coast to northern California where reported abundances reached millions. When the jellies surfed into southern California in …

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Carbon Correction

“Make sure you dig twice as wide as the pot.” The words of John, the garden store guy, who had given me a fast-paced education on planting fruit trees an hour earlier, echoed in my head. I dug my shovel into the rocky dirt in the back corner of my yard. I’d been scoping …

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