You might be familiar with the Atolla if you have an interest in marine biology. Unlike other jellyfish, it is scarlet and has significantly larger tentacles.
According to a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Animal in March, scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) discovered a novel species of atoll 15 years ago.
The first volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium was honored by having the new Atolla species given the name “Atolla Reynolds.”
In a press release, George Matsumoto, Senior Education, and Research Specialist at MBARI, said, “We named this stunning new species in honor of Jeff Reynolds in recognition of the 4.3 million hours of service that he and other volunteers have contributed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the past 38 years.
“They kindly donated their time to spread awareness of the ocean’s beauty. Aquarium volunteers have been crucial in educating the public about the ocean’s fragility and motivating them to care for its health, according to Matsumoto, the study’s lead author.
What distinguishes this novel species?
The Monterey Bay in California’s deep waters may also be home to this new species, according to Matsumoto and his coworkers.
In comparison to other Atolla species, Atolla Reynolds is huge. One of the largest specimens in the genus, this newly discovered species was measured by MBARI researchers to be 13 centimeters (5.1 inches) in diameter.
The fish has a bell with ridges, just like other deep-sea jelly species. The bell is enclosed by a deep groove that separates the broad, leaf-shaped edge from the domed bell. The Sedalia have fingerlike lappets.
Along with lacking the hypertrophied tentacle, Atolla Reynolds usually exhibits coiled tentacles.
Monterey Bay Aquarium was constructed by volunteers
In 1980, four years before the Aquarium’s official debut, Jeff Reynolds supervised a beached whale on Del Monte Beach throughout the night so that it could be recovered and prepared for an overhead exhibit.
“Having this new species named after me is such an honor. Additionally, it pays tribute to all the wonderful Aquarium volunteers over the years. I was simply fortunate to arrive so quickly, said Jeff Reynolds.
“Working at the aquarium as a volunteer for 42 years was such an amazing and fulfilling experience. It was especially wonderful to be accepted as a 16-year-old by mentors like [aquarium co-founder] Steve Webster and Tom Williams, who allowed me to just do whatever was necessary at the time, such as vacuum the floor, care for stranded sea otter pups, assist with whale necropsies, or build exhibit models.
Even today, the majority of the staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium work on a volunteer basis.