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Jellies, and GUIs, and Costumes, Oh My!

Hello again! This is Anastasiya, and I’m here to tell you that there have been a LOT of developments in my project since we last spoke. For starters, we now have live jellies!

And while that’s arguably the most important news, I also have updates on the tank setup, the custom jellyfish tracking software, and a first glimpse of my 4th of July jellyfish costume.

The Jellies:

We have actually received two shipments of jellyfish, because, unfortunately, the first batch disintegrated overnight due to water quality. While the unexpected loss was depressing and slightly traumatizing, we did give it another shot after reevaluating and fixing what we thought went wrong the first time. This second shipment of jellies has survived for over 4 days now, and it seems the current jellies are stable, which is great! You can see a GIF of one of the new clytia hemisphaerica below (please note that these jellies are tiny, less than 20 mm in diameter, and therefore are really hard to get on camera).

Tank Setup:

I now have a 3 tank setup as opposed to the original two tank one. With 3 tanks, I now have the opportunity to test what works best for the jellyfish to help avoid as many disintegrations as possible. I can observe the differences found from feeding varying amounts of brine shrimp (how much is too little/too much?), from trying out different protective tank coverings (mesh vs plastic bag), and from following different water changing schedules (gradual change daily? all at once weekly?). I don’t want one seemingly harmless act to cause an extinction-level event in our modest population of jellies, and this 3-tank separation helps with that.

Overall, I’m super excited that the jellies are here and alive, and I can’t wait to watch their behaviors over the next few weeks and to try to make sense of it!

The software:

While I was originally going to use OpenCV and C++ for the tracking software, I decided against it, because I wanted to create a GUI with Windows Forms instead. I would prefer a GUI (Graphical User Interface) so that other fellows, researchers, and hobbyists would be able to use my program without having to learn and alter my code. I am now creating everything via C# .net and use EmguCV (a wrapper for OpenCV for languages like C#). A couple screenshots of my current GUI are included below, and the code behind the GUI has had significant progress (I’d guesstimate that I’m about halfway done).

The Costume:

The 4th of July parade is just around the corner (or maybe it has even passed by the time you all read this), and it’s a Backyard Brains tradition for the fellows to dress up as their projects and walk in the parade. My project is ‘The Secret Life of Jellyfish,’ so it only makes sense that I create a costume that resembles my tiny aquatic preps. With the help of a clear bubble umbrella, some tulle, and a flexible LED strip, I think I’ve succeeded in this endeavor!

To the left is the finished umbrella serving as the bell-shaped body and tentacles of my jellyfish impersonation. It has a strip of LEDs wrapped around the top of the umbrella to light up the costume, so hopefully these LEDs will be bright enough to be noticeable during the day-time 4th of July parade.

I will also have a dress on for the parade made up of similar colors and materials to the costume-jellyfish’s body/tentacles, but for photos of the full costume/dress ensemble, as well as videos of actual live jellyfish doing really cool jellyfish activities, you’ll need to wait for the next post 😉 .

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