7.29.2009

Researchers Assert Role for Jellyfish in Oceanic Mixing
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It's been a great year for the jellyfish, first, it was speculated that one species might be immortal in some instances. (the exercise is below)

Now, Caltech researchers in a new study make a fascinating claim - that the oceans are 'mixed' by the actions of billions of jellyfish. The data thus points out a symbiosis between biological organism and its environment - in this case, liquid water, which is the most prevalent substance on the earth's surface, creating a powerful feedback loop. The net impact of jellyfish activity matches that of tidal forces and wind.

Apparently, the results reveal a mixing mechanism first hypothesized by Charles Darwin's grandson, Charles Galton Darwin, a theoretical physicist also interested in long-range prediction using vast datasets. Overall, it is estimated that trillions of watts of energy are contributed by jellyfish and microscopic organisms towards oceanic mixing.


Physicist Charles Galton Darwin 1887-1962

"We've been studying swimming animals for quite some time," said John Dabiri, a Caltech assistant professor of aeronautics and bioengineering. "The perspective we usually take is that of how the ocean — by its currents, temperature, and chemistry — is affecting the animals. But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important — how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment."

Video of this topic.

The Turritopsis test...


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