My Marine Bio Bucket List

In the theme of Deep Sea News’ post earlier this month “What’s your marine biology bucket list?” I have been thinking long and hard on this topic. So many choices!

1. Swim in “Jellyfish Lake” Palau, Micronesia

Well apparently Kosrae, Micronesia isn’t really that close to Palau, Micronesia so I didn’t make it over there on the way to my study abroad trip. But I will make it back there! Many of you have probably already heard to “Jellyfish Lake” with its totally awesome non-stinging jellies. Turns out that’s a common misconception, they do sting, just not enough to really hurt you since they eat zooplankton. Another common misconception is that they farm algae for food, so that’s why they don’t need to sting. While they do have symbiotic zooxanthellae, they use the photosynthetic byproducts from the zooxanthellae (they dont actually consume to zooxanthellae themselves for food).

A couple of cool facts:  Jellyfish Lake is one of 70 marine lakes in the Republic of Palau (Hamner and Hauri, 1981), and the jellies in Jellyfish Lake have developed into five distinct species derived from the spotted jellies in the lagoon (Darwin’s Jellyfishes; Dawson, 2005).  These jellies take on daily horizontal migrations within the lake to optimize the sun exposure to the zooxanthellae (Hamner and Hauri, 1981).

Another unique aspect of Jellyfish Lake is that it is one of few lakes in the world that is a permanently stratified marine lake, and as a result of this constant stratification, the hypolimnion is severely anoxic and contains high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas (Hamner and Hamner, 1982).

2. Visit the Galapagos

Darwin did, why shouldn’t I?

3. SCUBA with a big whale

I’m not too picky about which one, but I would prefer a baleen whale.

4. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

5. See a Narwhal

Unicorns of the sea. Nuf said.

6. See a ping pong tree sponge (also featured in the DSN post)

7. Take a trip in a deep sea sub

8.  Huge jellies!

I would love to see some of the huge jellies that are commonly caught in Japan, like these guys (well they don’t look too big here):

9. See a walrus in the wild

10. See a giant clam in the wild

11. See all species of abalone!

12. See a live horseshoe crab

Whats your bucket list?


Hamner, W. M., & Hauri, I. R. (May 01, 1981). Long-Distance Horizontal Migrations of Zooplankton (Scyphomedusae: Mastigias). Limnology and Oceanography, 26, 3, 414-423.

Turner, P. (n.d.). Darwin’s Jellyfishes – National Wildlife Federation. Home – National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved November 5, 2011, from

Dawson, M. N. (January 01, 2005). Five new subspecies of Mastigias (Scyphozoa: Rhizostomeae: Mastigiidae) from marine lakes, Palau, Micronesia. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the Uk, 85, 3, 679-694.

Hamner, W. M., Gilmer, R. W., & Hamner, P. P. (September 01, 1982). The Physical, Chemical, and Biological Characteristics of a Stratified, Saline, Sulfide Lake in Palau. Limnology and Oceanography, 27, 5.)


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