About the JelliesZone

The JelliesZone was established by Dave Wrobel (dwrobel22@gmail.com) to showcase the incredible diversity of gelatinous zooplankton that visit waters of the U.S. West Coast. Most people haven’t a clue as to what a jellyfish really is. The hope is that information and photographs presented here will help to reveal some of the amazing aspects of their mysterious lives. Dave has photographed and studied gelatinous zooplankton in the Monterey area of central California for many years. He previously managed the display and culture of jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and research and development for new displays of jellies. If you like gelatinous zooplankton, Monterey Bay and surrounding areas are among the best in the world for viewing these delicate creatures. For those of you who can’t venture out to sea, consider a visit to a public aquarium that displays jellies, where you can observe these fascinating creatures without risk of sea sickness.

Dave has departed the California scene and now resides in southern New Hampshire. He formerly was employed at the New England Aquarium as a jellyfish specialist, contributing to a jellies exhibit that opened in 2004. Currently he is a data analyst at Harvard Medical School.  It may take a while to get going, but Dave plans on exploring the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to learn about and photograph the gelatinous fauna on the other side of the continent.

The JelliesZone is only a start toward your understanding of the lives of jellies. For a more detailed look at West Coast species, check out Pacific Coast Pelagic Invertebrates, a collaboration between Dave Wrobel and Claudia Mills, a gelatinous zooplankton researcher at Friday Harbor Laboratories in Washington state. This guidebook, published by Sea Challengers and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is the first to provide comprehensive information on just about any gelatinous animal you are likely to encounter in Pacific coastal waters of the United States. Originally published in 1998, we have made some corrections and changes with a second printing in 2003. Unfortunately, it’s no longer in print and is not available from the publisher, but it’s possible to purchase copies at Amazon and other online book sources.

Watch as the JelliesZone grows and adds more information. With the material presented here, and links to additional sources of information, the JelliesZone is your window to the wonderful world of gelatinous creatures. Although focusing on West Coast gelatinous animals, the hope is to expand coverage in the JelliesZone to species throughout the world’s oceans.

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  1. Love the new look, Dave. The info has always been great, but now it’s more accessible. Thanks.

    • Thanks Chris — it’s been a lot of work to do the overhaul and I still have more to do but I’m pleased with the way it’s going.

  2. Hello! Great web page!
    I’m a wildlife filmer and I want to try and film the life cycle of the lion’s mane jellyfish (Norway). I will try to find the polyps (scyphistoma) to film them. Do you have any advice on the best habitat, substrate and depth to look for them?

    In advance, thank you for the help!

    Kind regards,

    Grethe Hillersøy

    • I’ve made hundreds of dives in Monterey Bay, California and never found scyphozoan polyps anywhere. Also, after making hundreds of plankton tows I never came across any ephyrae (the young jellies released by strobilating polyps). So unfortunately I don’t think I can be of much help in your search for lion’s mane jelly polyps! Even young jellies (purple-stripe, sea nettles, moon, egg-yolk) eluded me. So this has always been a mystery to me — maybe they’re being produced in places I didn’t dive like estuaries, or maybe they’re deeper than normal diving depths. Strobilating polyps are pretty distinctive so if they were around where I was diving I think I would have noticed. Moon jellies polyps, in particular, can be a nuisance in captivity since they settle on all surfaces, so I don’t know why they would be picky in natural habitats.

      Your best chance may be to arrange a film session with someone at a public aquarium who raises jellies. This would present the best chance for filming all stages (planulae larvae, polyps, strobilating polyps, ephyrae, young jellies), and would be in an easily controlled environment. You probably could get ephyrae being released, which would be very difficult in a natural setting even if you located the polyps. But if you’re set on filming in the wild perhaps you could look closely at wharf pilings in a harbor or potential settlement sites in estuaries and sloughs. Another possibility would be to check under rocky overhangs in subtidal and low intertidal areas where competition from other settling invertebrates may be less intense. For settlement I think the larvae would require a fairly clean substrate with little sediment and fairly sparse invertebrate cover and some water motion (currents or surge).


  3. Your website is fabulous! I have an amateur interest in jellies and this is a terrific website with beautiful photos and amazing details provided so well by an expert. Thank you Dave! When will you be adding in an east coast addition since you are no longer in California with east coast jelly information? I am looking forward to that! Thank you. Kindest regards, Jenna

    • I’m glad you enjoy the site! I’ve been working on improving the JelliesZone, but unfortunately, won’t be able to add East Coast jellies. I don’t have easy access to jellies like I did when I lived in California, so unless the situation changes, I won’t be adding species from the Atlantic. -Dave

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