Shifting Baselines

Maybe it’s because people became increasingly uncomfortable with marine mammals in captivity. Maybe it’s because they are low maintenance. For whatever reason, it seems jellyfish exhibits at aquaria are on the rise. Monterey Bay’s Jellies: Living Art pays homage to the medusas. Vancouver Aquarium’s jellyfish exhibit has also recently expanded (and now includes the flower hat jelly; photo by Lee Newman).

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An Amazon query of ‘jellyfish’ children’s books yields 1410 search results. Granted, a ‘shark’ search yields 5663 results, but ‘swordfish’ a meager 321. My name seems to be (disturbingly) suited to at least two of these children’s titles: Captain Jennifer Jellyfish Jones and Jenny Jellyfish: A Tale of Wiggly Jellies.

True, these translucent creatures capture everyone’s imagination. But are children learning more about jellyfish than other marine creatures? If so, will generations raised on moon jellies not lead to apathy over empty oceans, jellyfish burgers, and their oh-so-shifted baseline?

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Comments

  1. #1 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 27, 2007

    My daughters became interested in jellyfish from the Spongebob Squarepants cartoons. Spongebob and Patrick like to go “jellyfishing” – catch-and-release hunting of jellyfish using hand nets. My girls loved the jellyfish display at the Vancouver Aquarium as a result. I wonder if it’s the case with other kids?

  2. #2 Jennifer Jacquet
    June 27, 2007

    Great addition, Bruce. In your daughters’ honor, I add a scene from that Spongebog Squarepants episode to the post…

  3. #3 Ken Peterson
    June 27, 2007

    Jellies are hugely popular at Monterey Bay Aquarium (where I work). In addition to appealing to the aesthtic interest of visitors, we also deliver a strong dose of conservation messaging — at Jellies: Living Art, and in a three-times-a-daily auditorium program about jellies.

    Our Seafood Watch program (which encourages purchase of seafood from sustainable sources; http://www.seafoodwatch.org) doesn’t talk overtly about the rise of jellies, but it definitely promotes behavior that would avert it.

    Separate note: I created a Squidoo lens about jellies, including the ecological disaster that the “age of slime” represents. Check it out at http://www.squidoo.com/jellyfish.

  4. #4 Jennifer Jacquet
    June 27, 2007

    Ken, your Squidoo lens on jellies is an awesome resource. Given that you have such an insider’s perspective, are jellyfish are on the rise at aquaria? If so, is it because they don’t require much care? They are easy to catch? They are all there is left to catch? Or simply that they appeal to the visitors? Pehaps it’s all of the above. Can you tell us whether your combined tank space for jellies at Monterey Bay rivals that of the large pelagics tank (where that wonderfully dopey Mola mola flaps its way around)?

  5. #5 Sharyl
    February 5, 2009

    First – I’m not sure where you get your information about jellyfish be low maintenance as they are actually quite high maintenance. The more we learn about jellyfish the more we learn about our oceans, how “everything is connected” (my apologies for the cliche), and how human activities are impacting our oceans. Perhaps next time you visit a public aquarium you should read more of the graphics.

  6. #6 sex
    February 13, 2009

    Yes Thats is a good idea. Thanks a lot

  7. #7 acı cehre
    August 10, 2009

    They are all there is left to catch? Or simply that they appeal to the visitors?

  8. #8 Mike Martin
    July 6, 2010

    Students are learning much about marine life and not just from jellyfish. Teaching Aquariums are becoming very popular, housing marine species from sea stars, lobsters and many others. My family recently visited the MERI Center for Marine Studies in Blue Hill, Maine. This blogs shows the highlights.

    http://www.touch-tank.com/425/meri-ocean-aquarium/

  9. #9 hikayeler
    September 8, 2010

    The authors found that the frequencies of allergic and IgE-associated allergic disease and sensitization were similar in the children who had received probiotic and those who’d gotten placebo. Although there appeared to be a preventive effect at age 2, there was none noted at age 5. Interestingly, in babies born by cesarean section, the researchers found less IgE-associated allergic disease in those who had received the probiotic.

  10. #10 film izle
    September 8, 2010

    The authors found that the frequencies of allergic and IgE-associated allergic disease and sensitization were similar in the children who had received probiotic and those who’d gotten placebo. Although there appeared to be a preventive effect at age 2, there was none noted at age 5. Interestingly, in babies born by cesarean section, the researchers found less IgE-associated allergic disease in those who had received the probiotic.

  11. #11 müzik dinle
    September 8, 2010

    The authors found that the frequencies of allergic and IgE-associated allergic disease and sensitization were similar in the children who had received probiotic and those who’d gotten placebo. Although there appeared to be a preventive effect at age 2, there was none noted at age 5. Interestingly, in babies born by cesarean section, the researchers found less IgE-associated allergic disease in those who had received the probiotic.

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