Skip to content

Wait! Is that a Real Jellyfish?

June 10, 2020

Michael Ford, from NOAA Fisheries in Silver Spring, MD

Let’s face it. Jellyfish can be annoying sometimes when we’re on the beach. However, many oceanographers think jellyfish might play an important role in the ocean food web. When we explore the Earth’s oceans from ships and with unmanned Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), we actually see lots and lots of jellyfish. So, when we are not at the beach, we turn on our ROV, dive down into the ocean, and study them. There are so many kinds of jellyfish! Actually, “jellyfish” is a common word used to describe many types of animals that are gelatinous (made of jelly-like tissue.) These animals come in a very wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Join oceanographer Mike Ford from NOAA Fisheries to learn about jellyfish in the deep ocean as seen from recent ROV dives in the ocean. (Grades 2-6 but all ages will enjoy)

Resources to access at home:

» The Smithsonian website on jellyfish and comb jellies. This includes their role in the food web, reproduction and life cycle, human connections, and more. Click here.
» Interesting web articles with photo and video content that Mike wrote with colleagues and folks from Ocean Exploration:

» Explorations Far Above the Musician Seamounts: A Crescendo for Midwater Explorers
» The Gelata of
Océano Profundo 2015 (available in English and Spanish)
» Cyclocanna welshi
» Dive 05: Twirling Jelly
» Trawling for Plankton (and Plastic) on the Way Home from Indonesia