Scholarly article on topic 'My Challenge: The Ephyra in the Loophole'

My Challenge: The Ephyra in the Loophole Academic research paper on "History and archaeology"

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Der Zoologische Garten
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{"Antwerp Zoo" / "Aquamarine Fukushima" / "Moon jellyfish" / "Monterey Bay Aquarium" / "Touhoku University" / "Ueno Zoo's Aquarium"}

Abstract of research paper on History and archaeology, author of scientific article — Yoshitaka Abe

Abstract The husbandry of jellyfish started in 1965 at the Ueno Zoo's Aquarium in Tokyo just by a lucky chance. In one of the reserve tanks ephyra larvae of the Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) were one day observed, quite unexpectedly. These creatures awoke the interest of the aquarium curator and he succeeded by trial and error to keep and exhibit this jellyfish continuously. It was the first time that an aquarium succeeded in the husbandry of jellyfish and could show the visitors the whole life cycle of jellyfish. Because of this success the Ueno Aquarium became famous worldwide, and aquarium curators from the US and Europe visited the Ueno Aquarium to learn their husbandry and exhibition methods. After these colleagues returned home again, it was Antwerp Zoo in Europe and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the US, which tried the jellyfish husbandry as the first on their continents. In the meantime Jellyfish exhibitions became very popular, and most aquariums today keep jellyfish successfully, although it is even today difficult to keep jellyfish continuously over several years. But some aquariums have specialized in the exhibition of jellyfish. The Kamo Aquarium is an example for such a new trend.

Academic research paper on topic "My Challenge: The Ephyra in the Loophole"

Zool. Garten N.F. 85 (2016) 4-7 www.elsevier.com/locate/zooga

ZOOLOGISCHE GARTEN

My Challenge: The Ephyra in the Loophole

Meine Herausforderung: Die Ephyra-Larve im Guckloch

Yoshitaka Abe *

Aquamarine Fukushima, 50 Tatsumi-cho, Onahama, Iwaki, Fukushima Pref., 971-8101, Japan

Received 29 July 2015

Abstract

The husbandry of jellyfish started in 1965 at the Ueno Zoo's Aquarium in Tokyo just by a lucky chance. In one of the reserve tanks ephyra larvae of the Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) were one day observed, quite unexpectedly. These creatures awoke the interest of the aquarium curator and he succeeded by trial and error to keep and exhibit this jellyfish continuously. It was the first time that an aquarium succeeded in the husbandry of jellyfish and could show the visitors the whole life cycle of jellyfish. Because of this success the Ueno Aquarium became famous worldwide, and aquarium curators from the US and Europe visited the Ueno Aquarium to learn their husbandry and exhibition methods. After these colleagues returned home again, it was Antwerp Zoo in Europe and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the US, which tried the jellyfish husbandry as the first on their continents.

In the meantime Jellyfish exhibitions became very popular, and most aquariums today keep jellyfish successfully, although it is even today difficult to keep jellyfish continuously over several years. But some aquariums have specialized in the exhibition of jellyfish. The Kamo Aquarium is an example for such a new trend.

Keywords: Antwerp Zoo; Aquamarine Fukushima; Moon jellyfish; Monterey Bay Aquarium; Touhoku University; Ueno Zoo's Aquarium

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Introduction

It happened after I experienced the Ueno Zoo's Aquarium opening on October of 1964, when I had got used to the daily chores. I was in charge of the invertebrates on the 3rd

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: abe@marine.fks.ed.jp

floor. In the small and dark backstage area, there was a 30-by-30 cm window shaped like a loophole. The window was made mainly for show, but it was the perfect place to put a 30 cm tank there. During the fall of 1965, a creature I had never seen before appeared in the tank in the loophole. For someone with very little knowledge on marine biology, the creatures looked like an alien. When I reported my findings to Director Kuda, I learned that the shiny little creatures were the ephyra larvae of jellyfish. It seemed that they had tagged along in their polyp stage with the rocks that we had taken from the ocean. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the dancing movements of the ephyra in the window. At the same time, I also thought that it would be wonderful to have an exhibition about the metamorphosis of jellyfish that was commonly seen only in textbooks.

At the same time, moon jellyfish had multiplied exponentially due to the over nutrition of Tokyo Bay and had clotted the cooling water pipes in the electricity plants, causing the Great Tokyo Blackout. I had been concentrating on the taxonomy of fish, and did not find myself fit for the care of delicate jellyfish, but the enthusiasm of Director Kuda persuaded me to try. At the time, Hirai Etsuro and Kakinuma Yoshiko of Asamushi Seaside Laboratory of Touhoku University in the Aomori Prefecture were at the very cutting edge of jellyfish research. I visited them in the early winter and received many clues from their research. I learned that the trigger that causes the polyps to change into the ephyra and adult stages of life could be recreated by exposing them to carbon gas. I needed to know how to recreate the jellyfish life cycle at will in order to make a year round exhibition that showcased all of the stages.

The Jellyfish Factory Opens

I put up a sign backstage reading, "Jellyfish Factory". There, I went through the trial and error of jellyfish husbandry. I needed to create a stable output of each stage; polyp, strobilating polyps, ephyra, and adult, in order to have a permanent exhibition. It required a combination of both fine-tuned and ham-fisted husbandry procedures. In nature, the polyps start to strobilate and release ephyra during the fall. In captivity, the temperature falling to the polyp tank also cause the strobilation. The polyps attached to a board were first put into a 20 °C tank and were fed brine shrimp. This caused them to multiple asexually through budding, making the walls of the tank white. These were cut off using a razor, and the polyps were collected in a petri glass in high density. Dropping the temperature to about 15 °C caused many of the polyps to strobilate. The high carbon gas in the high density climate was also a factor.

The completion of the Jellyfish Factory line was during the summer vacation of 1967. In August, a special area on the 3rd floor of the aquarium was set up for the jellyfish life cycle exhibit. The adult moon jellyfish were put in a tank exhibit and the polyps, strobilating polyps and ephyra were put on display via projector. At the time, the capture and husbandry of jellyfish was considered very difficult. Obviously, raising ephyra into adult jellyfish was extremely difficult as well. The use of air pumps to circulate water caused bubbles to enter the stomach cavity of the jellyfish and would puncture holes through them. New ideas were needed to keep the water clean and keep the jellyfish in their dance-like swimming state with circulating water. The adult jellyfish were kept in large and relatively stable tanks.

Jellyfish Ambassadors

This exhibit lasted from 1967 to the closing of the Ueno Aquarium 27 years later. In the August 1967 issue of Doubutsu to Doubutsuen, the exhibit was mentioned in an article titled "Raising Jellyfish". It was also reported in English documents by the Asamushi Seaside Laboratories of Touhoku University (Abe & Hisada, 1969).

Although it was a time without the speed of the internet, Paul Van den Sande of Antwerp Zoo and Aquarium in Belgium read the English reports and came to visit in May, 1975. After a few days of hands-on learning, he returned to Antwerp on the June 4th JAL flight with a plastic case containing polyps and ephyra. He overcame a few obstacles and held the first year-round European exhibit on the life cycle of Moon Jellyfish (Van den Sande, Decleir, Van den Branden, & Van der Linden, 1981). From the US, Chuck Farwell from the Scripps Institute of Marine Biology of the University of California came to learn jellyfish husbandry. In 1984, he was one of the founding members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and became the first director as well. It was through Chuck Farwell that we were rewarded for our relations through jellyfish. The circular tank containing the jellyfish became one of the prominent features of the aquarium. Now, the exhibition of live jellyfish is common around the world.

The Spread of Jellyfish Husbandry

According to the census held by the Zoo and Aquarium in 2007, out of all 68 aquariums in Japan, 58 of them wereraising jellyfish. The number of jellyfish species raised in Japan are 96 hydrozoa, 44 scyphozoa, seven box jellyfish (cubozoa), and 26 comb jellyfish (ctenophore), totaling at 173 species. At the level of prominent numbers of species at individual facilities; the New Enoshima Aquarium has 50 species, Tsuruoka City Kamo Aquarium has 45 species, Osaka Kaiyukan has 27 species, and Fukushima Aquamarine has 23 species. The efforts of the Enoshima Aquarium, which stands on the coast of the Sagami Bay, began at a similar time as Ueno. Tsuruoka City Kamo Aquarium is now known to most of Japan as the Jellyfish Aquarium. It has gained its notoriety by specializing in jellyfish. This radical specialization is a widespread new trend across aquariums outside of the Tokyo Prefecture.

Jelly: Living Art

Monterey Bay Aquarium renewed its jellyfish exhibition in April 2002. It is an exhibition that combines traditional jellyfish exhibits with artwork, and is aptly named "Jellies: Living Art". A year later in October, the planning director of Monterey Bay Aquarium Dan Hughes was invited as a speaker for an environmental art exhibition held at Aquamarine Fukushima. The Jellies: Living Art exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium combines jellyfish exhibits with glass art. 70% of the visitors supported this combination of biology and art over the traditional purely scientific exhibition of living jellyfish. This exhibit also won the American Alliance of Museums award. Aquariums, which are living museums, became environmental art through this living art exhibit.

We at Aquamarine Fukushima had at one point expanded our collection, but have currently been concentrating on this living art trend. Accordingly, we have put our jellyfish in environments that bring out their beauty. However, we also believe that the exhibition of the jellyfish's life cycle should always be integrated into this as well, as all of these exhibitions began with the dancing ephyra in the Loophole.

Summary

The author was the first aquarist who kept jellyfish successfully and could show their full life cycle in the exhibition of the Ueno Zoo's Aquarium. He describes the developments of jellyfish husbandry since the beginning and the new trend in the aquarium world to concentrate the whole exhibition or large parts of the exhibition on jellyfish or to combine jellyfish as living art with a normal art exhibition.

Zusammenfassung

Der Autor war als Kurator des Aquariums im Tokioer Ueno Zoo der erste, dem es gelang, Quallen über ihren gesamten Lebenszyklus permanent zu halten und auszustellen. Er beschreibt die Quallenhaltung von den Anfängen bis zur heute üblichen Spezialisierung der Aquarienhäuser, Quallen in großem Stil oder als Hauptattraktion zu halten, zum Teil auch als „Living Art" im Rahmen einer Kunstausstellung.

References

Abe, Y., & Hisada, M. (1969). On a New Rearing Method of Common Jellyfish. Aurelia aurita. Bull. Mar. Biol.

Station Asamushi Tohoku Univ., 13, 205-209. Van den Sande, P., Decleir, W., Van den Branden, V., & Van der Linden, A. M. (1981). The Life cycle of Aurelia aurita Lam. and its maintenance in captivity. Vie mar., 3, 71-74.