Juli Berwald on the Art of Growing a Backbone

The lovely and absorbing new book Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone, began when author Juli Berwald, a marine scientist turned technical writer, was factchecking an article about ocean acidification for National Geographic. She was asked to confirm a seemingly simple claim, made in a graphic, that jellyfish would be among […]

In Bloom

My kids are really into this cartoon called The Octonauts. It’s about a group of undersea rescuers and researchers (there’s a penguin medic, a sea otter marine biologist, a polar bear captain, among others, plus a group of squeaky-voiced creatures called vegimals.) In one of their (and my) favorite episodes, one of the crew members […]

The Floating World of Jellyfish

In a dark gallery alongside Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a horde of glowy, gelatinous bulbs are drifting. A living lava lamp, someone calls them, and that’s what they are – jellyfish, mesmerizingly lit for the benefit of visitors to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Aquariums have been keeping jellies for years. I first saw them at […]