Depending on your point of view, jellyfish are either a threat, a thing of beauty or an unimpressive sac of goo. Juli Berwald fills in our otherwise transparent picture of jellyfish and their mysterious ways in her new book, “Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone.” Among jellyfish’s notable traits: they can age both forward and backward and they produce some of the world’s deadliest toxins. Tell us — what have you always wanted to know about jellyfish?

Dr. Juli Berwald,
author, “Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone”

The Mysterious Lives of Jellyfish 8 January,2018Michael Krasny

  • Adam Rabbino

    Dr. Berwald is magnificent! At her lecture last night she made sure to answer questions mostly from kids, for whom the evening had been arranged. To see a biologist, mother, author, speaker at the top of her game was an inspiration!
    Buy her book, ‘Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone’
    ISBN-13: 978-0735211261
    ISBN-10: 0735211264
    Available on Amazon! (Shamelessly promoting a well-deserved read.)

  • Livegreen

    I’ve had jelly fish at chinese & vietnamese restaurants and, although I like those cuisines, the jelly fish I’ve had has been pretty bland. If it would help the environment to eat more jelly fish, maybe we should give a shout out to Asian American super Chefs like Charlie Phan for some new & innovative recipes?

  • Is it true that the jellies will be able to out-compete krill (a keystone species) for plankton in increasingly acidified oceans in a world where reduced glacial ice reduces krill nursery habitats?


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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