Chris Doller stands between his sea nettle exhibit and aquarium-goers at the New England Aquarium on April 13th, 2018. Doller has been caring for jellyfish like these Sea Nettles at the aquarium for fourteen years, and is now the supervisor of the Changing Exhibits Gallery.
Moving day for some spotted lagoon jellies, as Chris Doller scoops jellyfish into a beaker to transfer them to a cleaner tank at the New England Aquarium on April 13th, 2018. Lagoon jellies, like corals, contain Zooxanthellae, single celled microorganisms called dinoflagellates, that use the sun to produce energy and food like plants through photosynthesis. The Zooxanthellae require light to photosynthesize, which promotes algae growth in the tank as an unintentional side effect, leading to a quickly dirtied tank.
Sea nettles float around their tank at the New England Aquarium on April 3rd, 2018. Sea Nettles like these can be found in many places around the world, commonly on the East Coast of the United States. They are primarily eaten in the wild by sea turtles, ocean sunfish, and other jellyfish and grows to ten inches in diameter and twenty inches long on average.
Chris Doller peers through a tank of sea nettles in the jellyfish room at the New England Aquarium on April 3rd, 2018. Space is at a premium behind the scenes in the aquarium, and managing the size of these jellies is crucial. With too much food, these sea nettles could easily outgrow their tanks, which are specially made with rounded corners so that the jellyfish don’t get caught up in a crevice.
Spotted lagoon jellyfish pulse in a tank at the New England Aquarium on April 3rd, 2018. The aquarium is unsure as to where the blue color in these jellies comes from. These lagoon jellies were imported from the wild in Japan, and their offspring that have been bred in the Aquarium lacked the blue hue. Much is still unknown about many jellyfish species.
Chris Doller examines a small dish of breeding jellyfish in the jellyfish room at the New England aquarium on April 3rd, 2018. Jellyfish breed by expelling sperm and eggs into the water which then form a larvae. This larvae then settles onto the bottom to become a polyp, which can then produce many proto-jellyfish, called ephyras. The polyps can become dormant and begin breeding, even living in semi-dry environments for a time. This allows jellyfish to be excellent invasive species, living in boat bilges or hulls, carried to new seas.
Chris Doller stands behind a holding tank of sea nettles at the New England Aquarium on April 3rd, 2018. Sea nettles are a popular aquarium choice for aquariums and hobbyists alike, known for their active life style and tolerance of aquarium life, they are happy and healthy in tanks.
Chris Doller feeds the lagoon jellies brine shrimp, a food that many residents eat at the New England Aquarium on April 13th, 2018. Brine shrimp contain lots of energy in a small package, usually not growing beyond 1.3 centimeters in length, making them good food for fish or jellies. The animals kept at the aquarium require constant care. Attempting to replicate complex environments in captivity is no small task, and each exhibit is supported by teams of behind the scenes workers.