Krill, jellyfish, play big roles in ocean mixing

Jan 12, 2011 By Jennifer Frey
Krill

Israeli researchers have demonstrated that krill and jellyfish, as tiny as they may be, play a big role in ocean mixing.

Professors Alexander Leshansky and Leonid Pismen of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering have demonstrated that the currents caused by the swimming of these small fish contribute substantially to the mixing process, which is important for distributing heat, and gases throughout the ocean.

Their work furthered the research of California Institute of Technology professors who surprised oceanographers by declaring that were important in churning the ocean’s waters, and positing that small krill and copepods - migrating up from the ocean’s depths, actually drag more water with them than do larger marine animals.

Profs. Leshansky and Pismen verified their predecessors’ hypothesis by examining the hydrodynamics of currents created by creatures moving on their own versus those that are passively carried. “The large number of floating swimmers compensates for their tiny size,” said Prof. Leshansky.

Explore further: Experiments open window on landscape formation

More information: The Technion research was highlighted in the November 10, 2010 issue of Nature Physics.

Related Stories

Aquatic creatures mix ocean water

Nov 22, 2009

Understanding mixing in the ocean is of fundamental importance to modeling climate change or predicting the effects of an El Niño on our weather. Modern ocean models primarily incorporate the effects of winds and tides. ...

Antarctic krill provide carbon sink in Southern Ocean

Feb 06, 2006

New research on Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), a shrimp-like animal at the heart of the Southern Ocean food chain, reveals behaviour that shows that they absorb and transfer more carbon from the Earth’s surface than ...

Ocean stirring and plankton patchiness

Jun 21, 2010

Computer simulations performed by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Glasgow show how oceanic stirring and mixing influence the formation and dynamics of plankton patches ...

Recommended for you

Experiments open window on landscape formation

13 hours ago

University of Oregon geologists have seen ridges and valleys form in real time and—even though the work was a fast-forwarded operation done in a laboratory setting—they now have an idea of how climate ...

NASA image: Canadian wildfires continue

13 hours ago

Canada is reeling from an early fire season this year as dozens of fires ravage at least three provinces of the country. All of the following reports are as of July 2, 2015.

The very hungry sea anemone

14 hours ago

The surprising culinary preferences of an abyssal sea anemone have been unveiled by a team of scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

How Virginia is preparing for the next quake

19 hours ago

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the commonwealth in 2011 was a wake-up call for many Virginians. Originating deep under Louisa County, the quake was felt as far north as Canada and caused significant ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.