Presentation Abstract

The efforts and successes of a community volunteer group, ‘The Jelly Team’, exemplify citizen science achievement at the Marine Science and Technology Center, the marine biology and aquarium facility of Highline College in Des Moines, Washington. With little professional direction or funding, these volunteers have succeeded in culturing Moon Jellies to provide an ongoing display in the public aquarium, and are now expanding their activities to culturing other species and looking to provide specimens to local schools. A popular display at the MaST public aquarium is a kreisel tank featuring Aurelia labiata, the Pacific coast species of the Moon Jelly. Due to the short lifespan of wild-caught specimens in captivity, the aquarium faced an ongoing problem of keeping this display stocked with jellies. A team of community volunteers, who have been largely self-educated in jelly biology and husbandry, have developed a protocol for culturing Aurelia labiata in the small wet lab at the center. After seven years, the MaST now has a self-sustaining ‘Jelly Team’ and MaST staff felt it essential to maintain volunteer interest by providing the citizen scientists with an ongoing sense of direction in the project. Current projects include culturing the Egg Yolk jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) and a middle school education program where Aurelia labiata tanks can be placed in schools such that students can observe the entire life cycle of the species over the school year. In addition, training of new and prospective volunteers has been facilitated by provision of an online ‘jelly curriculum.’ This poster presentation details how the technical challenges of culturing jellies inexpensively in a small facility have been addressed. We also discuss the dynamics of recruiting, training, and maintaining an active and skilled body of volunteers with minimal direction from professional staff.

Session Title

Posters: Data & Information Management

Keywords

Citizen science, volunteer, Jellyfish, aquaculture

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-33

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

The Jelly Team: citizen science at a small community aquarium

The efforts and successes of a community volunteer group, ‘The Jelly Team’, exemplify citizen science achievement at the Marine Science and Technology Center, the marine biology and aquarium facility of Highline College in Des Moines, Washington. With little professional direction or funding, these volunteers have succeeded in culturing Moon Jellies to provide an ongoing display in the public aquarium, and are now expanding their activities to culturing other species and looking to provide specimens to local schools. A popular display at the MaST public aquarium is a kreisel tank featuring Aurelia labiata, the Pacific coast species of the Moon Jelly. Due to the short lifespan of wild-caught specimens in captivity, the aquarium faced an ongoing problem of keeping this display stocked with jellies. A team of community volunteers, who have been largely self-educated in jelly biology and husbandry, have developed a protocol for culturing Aurelia labiata in the small wet lab at the center. After seven years, the MaST now has a self-sustaining ‘Jelly Team’ and MaST staff felt it essential to maintain volunteer interest by providing the citizen scientists with an ongoing sense of direction in the project. Current projects include culturing the Egg Yolk jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) and a middle school education program where Aurelia labiata tanks can be placed in schools such that students can observe the entire life cycle of the species over the school year. In addition, training of new and prospective volunteers has been facilitated by provision of an online ‘jelly curriculum.’ This poster presentation details how the technical challenges of culturing jellies inexpensively in a small facility have been addressed. We also discuss the dynamics of recruiting, training, and maintaining an active and skilled body of volunteers with minimal direction from professional staff.