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Seeing Jellies in a New Light

Carmen Sanchez-Reddick, Science Journalism Intern

Seeing Jellies in a New Light read by the author, Sanchez-Reddick

To better understand their research, Carmen Sanchez-Reddick, science communication intern, joined the Sutherland Lab from the University of Oregon, and their collaborators from Oregon State University and Portland State University, as they lived and worked at sea to study the base of the marine food web–plankton.  The photos, captions and audio files here describe her experience.  Read the full text story here, published in the Newport News and Times. 

The gelatinous zooplankton the Sutherland Lab is interested in are small, but in the words of Dr. Terra Hiebert, “…I often think of the Horton Hears a Who! - like a person is a person no matter how small. And I think that just because something is difficult to see, doesn’t mean that it isn’t extremely relevant in many ways.”. Dr. Kelly Sutherland plucks jellies (Eutonina sp.) from a dish while aboard the R/V Langseth. To hear directly from members of the Sutherland Lab, click on audio button.
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While on deck, Carmen is surrounded by scientists wearing hard hats and life vests as they participate in the deployment and recovery of equipment as line handlers and spotters. Carmen Sanchez-Reddick, science communication intern with the Sutherland Lab, takes a moment to photograph herself while awaiting a CTD recovery on deck.
Studying planktonic communities is necessary because they are an important food source for many marine organisms. Crabbers and fishers congregate at the Newport Public Fishing Pier. 
Chrysaora fuscescens
Gloves are a must when gingerly manipulating the body of pacific sea nettle (Chrysaora fuscescens) to avoid being stung.
Dr. Alejandro Damian Serrano measures the volume of a pacific sea nettle (Chrysaora fuscescens).  Hear more about what these scientists find interesting about jellies by clicking here.
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Drs. Kevin Du Clos (left) and Alejandro Damian Serrano guide the ring net full of diatoms (dark substance) back on deck. Diatoms are single-celled algae that make samples denser and more difficult to filter and sort through.
When a sample comes into the lab, it is split into two parts: one for the Sutherland Lab to look for jellies and one for the Sponaugle-Cowen Lab from OSU to search for fish larvae. Research Assistant Ali Grossweiner pours a net’s contents into the observation dishes.
Hear more about what which zooplankton the members of the Sutherland Lab find most interesting by clicking here.
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Lab members must be careful when picking up these delicate animals as some species are more likely to tear or lose their shape if handled too harshly. A MOCNESS sample containing thousands of doliolids is sorted through by a Sutherland Lab researcher.
Hear more about doliolids by clicking here.
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Back in Eugene, Oregon, the 827 photos taken for morphological and reproductive analysis will be studied. Research Assistant Ascensy Perez measures the total diameter and gonads of jellies (Eutonina sp.).
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