Thursday, April 4, 2013
Are Jellyfish Taking Over Our Oceans? Expert to Explain During Special Lecture at Birch Aquarium at Scripps
As human activities continue to take their toll on the health of ocean ecosystems, it appears one group is thriving: jellies. The combined impacts of ocean warming, overfishing, pollution, ocean acidification, and other threats are creating ideal conditions for these resilient creatures to multiply—-and take over the ocean.
Join jelly expert Lisa-ann Gershwin for a special presentation on these surprising animals at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 20, at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Gershwin will describe how jellies are benefitting from warmer ocean waters, fewer predators, and more places for their larvae to grow, and will explain how these favorable conditions have led to armadas of stinging jellies in our coastal waters and fishing grounds.
Gershwin, whose book Stung! - On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean will be released May 1, will share stories of jellies both attractive and deadly, while illuminating interesting and unusual facts about their behaviors and environmental adaptations. She will describe the jelly's evolutionary path, beginning in the Proterozoic era, when they were the ocean's top predator, and will explore how jellies can swiftly populate vulnerable ecosystems.
A book signing will follow the presentation. Books will be available for purchase or can be pre-purchased at the aquarium Gift Shop. Stung! features research by Scripps Oceanography scientists, as well as references to Scrippsia pacifica, a jelly species named in honor of the institution's founders, the Scripps Family.
Gershwin, who has a Ph.D. in marine biology, is director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services. She has discovered more than 150 new species—-including at least 16 types of highly dangerous jellies, as well as a new species of dolphin—-and has written for numerous scientific and popular publications. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1998 for her studies on jelly blooms and evolution.
About Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and beyond. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth, and ocean science and features five-dozen interactive elements. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Birch Aquarium has an annual attendance of more than 435,000, including 40,000 school children.
About Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,400, and annual expenditures of approximately $170 million from federal, state and private sources. Scripps operates robotic networks, and one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 415,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu.
Source: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Photo courtesy of Afrodad via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)