Remarkable New Species of Deep-sea Crown Jelly Discovered in Depths of Monterey Bay


Atolla is one of the most common residents of the ocean’s midnight zone. This deep-sea crown jelly is found worldwide and can be abundant in deep water. Its bell has a signature scarlet color and it has one tentacle that is much longer than the rest. Fifteen years ago, MBARI researchers spotted a large jelly that looked like Atolla but lacked the telltale trailing tentacle, and their curiosity was piqued. MBARI researchers have now published the scientific description of this new species. The jelly was named Atolla reynoldsi in honor of the first volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, MBARI’s education and conservation partner. These discoveries remind us that we still know so little about the ocean, the largest living space on Earth. The ocean is changing rapidly and the same threats that face coastal waters—overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction—also extend to the depths below. We must document the diversity of life deep beneath the surface before it becomes lost forever.

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