Savannah, Ga. – In celebration of World Oceans Day, Jacques Cousteau’s birthday and the new “Sea Jellies of the Georgia Coast” exhibit, the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service will host free hands-on education programs June 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Grey Reef National Marine Sanctuary is providing free aquarium admission and educational activities in honor of Jacques Cousteau’s birthday.
The day’s activities will focus on the issue of marine debris and how it affects Georgia’s coastal waters and the ocean, and sea jellies. Activities include marine debris and sea jelly inspired crafts, a marine debris program, a salt marsh clean up, an aquarium treasure hunt and ocean stories. The new “Sea Jellies of the Georgia Coast” exhibit will open at 10 a.m. with a half-hour introduction at 11 a.m. highlighting the local and global importance of sea jellies and water quality.
The exhibit honors the late Peter Verity and his research at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and includes data from Laura M. Birsa’s scientific publication titled Temporal and spatial patterns of abundance and size of Appendicularians and Ctenophores in the Skidaway Estuary and relationships to important environmental variables. Birsa was Verity’s graduate student and currently works at the institute collecting samples of ctenophores. The exhibit also will provide information on how water quality and coastal health play a vital role in the economy of coastal areas.
The species of ctenophore highlighted in this exhibit are Mnemiopsis leidyi. Cteonophores are clear, non-stinging jellies commonly referred to as “comb jellies.” These delicate spherical or ribbon-like organisms drift in all oceans, including the Atlantic. They are named for the lines of cilia found on the organism’s surface that beat like small paddles to help the animal swim.
· marine debris program and salt marsh clean up: 8-10 a.m.
· treasure hunt (ongoing): 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
· marine debris and sea jellies crafts (ongoing): 10 a.m-4 p.m.
· “Sea Jellies of the Georgia Coast” exhibit opening: 11-11:30 a.m.
· ocean stories: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
The UGA Marine Extension Service is a division of the Office of the Vice President of Public Service and Outreach. For more information, see http://www.marex.uga.edu/.