You may have heard that the Australian Box Jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri, has some of the most potent venom of any animal on the planet, powerful enough to kill an adult human in under two minutes. These animals can grow almost a foot-wide bell, and each animals has up to sixty tentacles, each up to three…… Continue reading What Is the Worst a Jellyfish Could Do? Irukandji Syndrome
A recent Twitter campaign, #SkypeaScientistQuestions, inspired me to write down some of the most common and most creative questions that I have gotten over the last six sessions with various classrooms through Skype a Scientist. Many of these were from 5th graders, of which only two were in coastal states and had regular access to…… Continue reading Skype a Scientist Question Roundup – Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Two jellies have contributed to Nobel Prize winning research: The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1913 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008. In both cases the animals were actually hydrozoans: Physalia physalis, the Portuguese Man-of-War, and Aequorea victoria, the Crystal jelly. The 2008 prize was awarded for the discovery of green fluorescent protein, also…… Continue reading Man-of-War venom, and the discovery of anaphylaxis
On 3 December 2018, the first jellyfish genome was published online at Nature Ecology and Evolution. To clarify, the is the first genome of a cnidarian with a jellyfish stage (i.e. medusa). There are currently a few other jellies, like Hydra and Nematostella, that have had their genome available for several years. What was the lucky medusa-bearing…… Continue reading Stung by a Moon – Celebration of the Aurelia aurita genome
My first visit to the National Aquarium was also a behind-the-scenes tour of the jellyfish room with Jennie Janssen (@JellyJanssen). I was completely mesmerized by hundreds of jellies in various industrial-sized aquaria. But I should also note, I am frequently mesmerized by jellies, big and small, be they in an aquarium or under the scope… Continue reading So many jelly photos!
A couple of weeks ago, New York Times’s science writer Carl Zimmer wrote about a recent review of Hays et al (2018), which asked: how important are jellyfish in marine ecosystems? The answer: important. In fact, probably more important than we have been giving them credit for. Jellyfish (often referring to both cnidarians and ctenophores)… Continue reading Jellyfish are Good Eatin’!
I wanted to share my post to for the Smithsonian NMNH Invertebrate Zoology Department blog, No Bones, about some of the work I did over the summer. Enjoy! http://nmnh.typepad.com/no_bones/2018/08/stinging-snot-at-the-smithsonian.html