Jellyfish Affect Climate

Discussion in 'Marine Saltwater forum' started by Daniel7, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. Daniel7

    Daniel7 Member

    Jun 6, 2009
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    Jellyfish pulsating through oceans could actually influence Earth's climate.
    A small, fist-sized jellyfish pulsating through the water seems like an unlikely candidate to alter Earth's climate. But its motion, combined with all the swimming creatures in the sea, could stir things up enough to do exactly that, according to a new study.
    Scientists have wondered for over a century whether the agitations of fish, whales, plankton and jellyfish across the planet can affect ocean currents. But teasing their effect out from the powerful influences of the wind and tides has proven difficult.
    Kakani Katija and John Dabiri of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have found a clue in Jellyfish Lake, a quiet salt lake in the South Pacific archipelago of Palau.
    Swarms o f jellies migrate through the still waters there each day, providing researchers with a perfect opportunity to watch them up close as they swim.
    By adding dye to the water, the researchers uncovered a surprise: jellyfish move water in two ways. Their bell-shaped heads push small swirling smoke rings out behind them, as expected, but they also drag a cone of water with them wherever they go. When moving vertically, they even manage to tow denser water toward the surface.
    "We were expecting to see the vortex rings, but not the conical structure," Katija said. "Their body shape allows them to mix water efficiently."

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