Picture of the Week—Jellyfish | Science | Smithsonian
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Picture of the Week—Jellyfish

Most of the organisms living in the oceans are tiny, but they have a big effect on ocean mixing, according to a new study in Nature. Bioengineers from CalTech investigated this effect in Palau by adding a fluorescent dye to water near jellyfish to see what would happen when the jellies swam through...

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Golden jellyfish in Palau's Jellyfish Lake (credit: Michael Dawson, University of California at Merced)




Most of the organisms living in the oceans are tiny, but they have a big effect on ocean mixing, according to a new study in Nature. Bioengineers from CalTech investigated this effect in Palau by adding a fluorescent dye to water near jellyfish to see what would happen when the jellies swam through. To the scientists' surprise, the dye traveled along with the jellyfish for long distances. Jellyfish and other marine organisms regularly migrate to the ocean surface during the day. Extrapolating from their experiment, the bioengineers calculated that the amount of mixing from this migration is as much as a trillion watts of energy, about equivalent to the effects of the winds and tides.
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About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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