Est. 1940

Wednesday, January 24th 7:00 PM

Juli Berwald Presents

her Memoir


The Science of Jellyfish

and the Art of

Growing a Backbone

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Spineless is the “excellently timed exploration of the humble jellyfish” (Publishers Weekly) that will open your eyes to a world both rarely and often neglected—the ocean and its ecosystem. In Spineless, Juli Berwald reveals why the otherworldly jellyfish are so much more than pulsating sacs of goo. She spent over five years researching and writing about the mysteries of jellyfish, traveling the world to interview preeminent scientists and chasing down jellyfish blooms in Japan, Israel, the Mediterranean and
off the Pacific Atlantic, and Gulf coasts. After being neglected for much of the 20 th century, scientists have only recently redirected their attention towards the mysterious lives of these sea creatures, and what Juli discovered in her research is astonishing: there are immortal jellyfish that have the ability to age forwards and backwards; giant jellies that weigh over 500 pounds; transparent beasts made of 95% water that produce the world’s deadliest toxins.

She also learned that in the last decade some jellyfish populations have exploded-- massive blooms have appeared around the world and have caused profound damage. Groups of what are at times billions of jellyfish have shut down power plants and have devastated fisheries, costing millions of dollars in industry losses. In Spineless, Juli explores why this might be happening, and whether humans are to blame.

Juli Berwald received her Ph.D. in Ocean Science from the University of Southern California. A science textbook writer and editor, she has written for a number of publications, including The New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and Slate.