Brainless, heartless, spineless - jellyfish lack a lot of things, but one thing they do not lack is incredible diversity. Marine scientists have long sought to unlock the mysteries of these enigmatic animals and now, as the role of jellies in the ecosystem is changing in response to human-made environmental changes, our need to understand and appreciate their role in the ocean is greater than ever.

Join us to discover more about these ocean aliens at the Two Oceans Aquarium on 5 November 2019, a public event of the 6th International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium.

Event details

The speakers

Angel Yanagihara - The science of the sting: What happens when you are stung by a box jellyfish?

Dr Angel Yanagihara was born in Anchorage, Alaska and has since graduated with degrees in both biology and chemistry, from the University of Virginia, PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and doctoral degree candidacy in biochemistry at Georgetown University. Severe life-threatening stings by a swarm of Hawaiian box jellyfish in July of 1997 led Dr Yanagihara to question the biochemical basis of the profound pain and dramatic sequelae experienced.

This work necessitated major technical advances, such as developing new methodologies to isolate stinging cells from live tentacles. Dr Yanagihara' ground-breaking work included the identification of venomous compounds in box jellies, which include some of the world's deadliest species, and the development of topical antivenom that is now available to the general public. Increasing public health concerns due to rising incidents of jellyfish stings worldwide, including the potentially lethal cubozoan stings in the tropics, have resulted in invitations to conduct field research and training-site visits in Australia, Bonaire, Saipan, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Ireland, as well as to advise open-ocean swimmers. Given the extreme importance of communicating these life-saving technical advances, Dr Yanagihara is highly motivated to share her cumulative technical expertise. She has been selected twice by the US State Department to serve as a US expert in the Fulbright Specialist Program, which aims to promote linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at overseas host institutions. In fact, the Fulbright Specialist Program provides a powerful framework for sharing of ideas and experiences and for establishing and strengthening collaborative networks in Biology Education and Research Training, Environmental and Wildlife Sciences, and Public and Global Health.

Lucas Brotz - Jellyfish: Food or foe?

Lucas Brotz is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of British Columbia's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries in Vancouver, Canada. He is the Cnidaria Scientist with Quantitative Aquatics and works with the Sea Around Us reconstructing the world’s fishery catches. Dr. Brotz has been studying jellyfish for more than a decade, and has been a member of numerous international jellyfish working groups. He is interested in jellyfish population dynamics, marine trophic interactions, and jellyfish fisheries.

Dror Angel - What is the common denominator of cosmetics, seafood, fertilizer and wastewater treatment?

Dror Angel is an associate professor at the Department of Maritime Civilizations in the Charney School of Marine Science at the University of Haifa, situated on Mt Carmel, along the northern coast of Israel. He is a marine ecologist working on a variety of topics, including the factors involved in jellyfish blooms in the Levant, microplastics pollution and its impacts, aquaculture-environment interactions and citizen science. Dror is a partner in the European Union Horizon 2020 project, GoJelly which aims to use jellyfish to reduce microplastic pollution in the environment and his presentation will focus on the work he is doing there. 

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