Today’s Solutions: February 08, 2023

As we explore further into space, we also discover new oddities every day in our own waters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that more than 80 percent of the world’s oceans remain unmapped and undiscovered. Scientists estimate that 91 percent of ocean species have not yet been classified. 

Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have discovered a new species of Atolla jellyfish that they named Atolla reynoldsi.

Volunteer work pays off 

Atolla are deep-sea crown jellyfish colored scarlet red. The new species of Atolla jellyfish is distinct because it’s missing the one, long, signature tentacle that can elongate up to six times the jelly’s body length and is used, scientists believe, to capture prey. 

In honor of the invaluable help from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s volunteers, the researchers decided to name the new Atolla after the aquarium’s first volunteer, Jeff Reynolds. 

“We named this stunning new species in honor of Jeff Reynolds in recognition of the 4.3 million hours of service that he and other volunteers have contributed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the past 38 years,” said Dr. George Matsumoto, lead author of the description of the new Atolla species, as Science News reported. 

“They have graciously given their time to educate the public about the wonders of the ocean. Aquarium volunteers have been instrumental in raising awareness about the fragility of the ocean and inspiring the public to care about the health of the ocean.”

The Atolla renoldsi is larger than most other Atolla, around 5.1 inches in diameter at its largest. Its crown has spikey ridges which also distinguish it from others of its kind. 

The newly named jellyfish honors the work volunteers do to further science and educate others about the importance of the oceans and their life. 

“MBARI’s work to understand the ocean is more urgent than ever as the deep sea and the animals that live there face a growing number of threats. We cannot protect life in the deep sea unless we understand it first,” said Matsumoto.

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