Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Featured Research

What a Complicated Lifecycle
Aurelia aurita

Moon jellies (Aurelia aurita) complex life cycle has been the focus of many research projects. Moon Jellies begin life as a planula larva that settles and becomes a polyp that attaches itself onto a rock.  A polyp can remain dormant for many years until it strobilates and produces many ephyrae. Each ephyra grows into the familiar bell-shaped adult jellyfish called a medusa.

In 2009-2010 research projects, seven student researchers tested environmental variables that cause the polyps to begin strobilating. These variables include species competition, water temperature, and light type. Polyps were put into different water temperatures (39F, 55F, and 72F). Some polyps were exposed to different amounts of artificial and natural light. Some moon jellyfish polyps were placed into a tank with polyps of a different jellyfish species. One student observed that high levels of natural lighting increased polyp strobilation and now we have over 3,000 ephyrae from a single experiment! These abundant cultures help us supply moon jellyfish to our exhibits and other institutions throughout the world.


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Featured Research Archive

          8/29/2023 Trekking the Tide Pools: What You Need to Know Before You Go (Featured)
          1/4/2023 Young Scientist Researches Algae
          6/20/2014 Student Researchers Receive Top Awards
          7/23/2013 Student Researcher Eric Dean builds a mudflat from scratch
          12/17/2012 Student Researcher Maddy Uetrecht dives into moon jelly development
          8/23/2012 Student Researcher Jacob Partida Tracks Fishy Movements
          5/21/2012 Student Researcher Madaly Alcala Investigates the Man-Made Salt Marsh
          1/19/2012 In a Galaxy (not so) Far, Far Away
          8/24/2011 Student Researcher Julian Kimura Shines a Light on Copepods
          6/9/2010 What a Complicated Lifecycle
          8/17/2009 Does pressure affect lobster embryonic growth?
          12/4/2008 Kristin McCully