The water in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is giving off a very fishy odor. Wondering why? If nutrient levels are high enough, warming waters can sustain increased numbers of microscopic plants or algae. Nutrient runoff from our recent spring rains fueled a brown algae bloom in the inner harbor giving the water a mahogany color last week. Algae has a short life span, and as it dies oxygen is consumed and is no longer available for other organisms in the water column. At this point, fish and other animals that cannot escape the low oxygen zones die. These are commonly referred to as “dead zones” which cause fish kills, and the bad smell over the weekend. The bacteria then devours the dead fish killed by oxygen depletion, fueling more bad odors.
Some animals, like jellies require very little oxygen and manage to live through these dead zone events. This is part of the reason jellies populations are thriving in bodies of water around the world.
These excess nutrients that cause the algae blooms can come from a variety of sources including fertilizer, storm water runoff, and even atmospheric deposition. So what can be done about it? The National Aquarium is actively working to improve the water quality of the Bay by restoring vital habitats like tidal wetlands. These habitats remove excess nutrients, help prevent flooding and provide important habitat to the animals that live there. You can volunteer – check it out!
Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance is now open at the National Aquarium! For a sneak peak at the exhibit, visit our new Jellies website!
How has something with no brain survived for millions of years? Learn more about these amazing animals and what makes them so unique. Get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to maintain living Jellies, learn about the species featured in the exhibit, and play the Jelly Quest game!
Jellies and Dinosaurs are invading Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in a Waterfront Invasion. Are you prepared? This summer the National Aquarium and Maryland Science Center will have wonderful displays of two very popular prehistoric creatures, each with their own story of invasion…
Though prehistoric, Jellies are still thriving and invading oceans across the world. In fact, in 1990, eight years after the comb jellies first invaded the Black Sea, their biomases totaled about 900 million tons in the sea – that’s more than 10 times the weight of the total annual fish catch from all the world’s oceans.
Continue reading ‘Attention Baltimore: Are you prepared?’
One of the reasons Jellies are invading the oceans is because they can survive environmental changes that have negatively affected other forms of sea life. Did you know jellies have survived for over 500 million years?!They were here even before dinosaurs.
The key to this survival is their ability to adapt and thrive to changes in the environment. Jellies appear to be better able to survive in polluted water than other forms of aquatic life. Runoff may be a cause for increases in jellies populations. Excess fertilizer from our yards runs into our waterways fueling algae blooms and the creation of low oxygen “dead zones” in the Bay and in the ocean. Jellies are able to survive and thrive in these degraded water conditions.
Continue reading ‘Jellies are survivors’
Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance opens in less than a month! As you read last week, our aquarists begin collecting, maintaining and breeding animals months before an exhibit opens. The jellies are being collected from natural habitats and from other institutions around the world. In fact, we just received a shipment of blue blubbers and lagoon jellies last week from Japan. Take a look at some of the blue blubbers:
The blue blubbers are one of nine species that will be featured in the exhibit. Even after Jellies Invasion opens to the public, the aquarists will continue to grow our collection of jellies. Aquarists are constantly replicating natural habitats, feeding, caring for and breeding the animals so they acclimate and flourish. The ultimate goal of our “jellies lab” is to establish and maintain breeding cultures of jellies so we can provide a variety of specimans for our visitors to see in the exhibit.
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