Swimming jellyfish may influence global climate

November 1, 2011

Swimming jellyfish and other marine animals help mix warm and cold water in the oceans and, by increasing the rate at which heat can travel through the ocean, may influence global climate. The controversial idea was first proposed by researchers out of the California Technical Institute in 2009, but new information may help the scientists support their claim.

Dr. Kakani Katija Young, who worked on the original paper, and her team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published an article in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) this month, explaining how to use a Self-Contained Underwater Velocimetry Apparatus (SCUVA).

The apparatus is used underwater at night to light up animals, like jellyfish, swimming in the ocean. It also illuminates the particles around the animals, showing how the animals move the water around them when they swim.

The combined effect of all ocean life swimming in concert may have an impact on on the same magnitude as wind.

Though the apparatus was used in the original research, Dr. Young is publishing the now in the hopes that other scientists will use it to gather more evidence supporting her theory.

"We felt that it is such a powerful tool that isn't being used in the community," she said. "And I feel that people learn so much better from visual material than they do from just reading text."

Explore further: Jellyfish-Like Creatures May Play Major Role in Fate of CO2 in the Ocean

Related Stories

Dutch zoo breeds own jellyfish

September 29, 2007

Marine biologists at a Dutch zoo say they have succeeded in the difficult task of breeding jellyfish in captivity.

Aquatic creatures mix ocean water

November 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. ...

Recommended for you

Explaining crocodiles in Wyoming

September 2, 2015

Fifty million years ago, the Cowboy State was crawling with crocodiles. Fossil records show that crocs lounged in the shade of palm trees from southwestern Wyoming to southern Canada during the Cretaceous and Eocene.  Exactly ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

chuckscherl
3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
Damn jellyfish ... causing GW... Dr. Young needs to get a life.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2011
Not just jellyfish. . .OTHER marine animals too
ArtVandelay
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2011
Ridiculous.
SleepTech
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2011
Next week this guy will want to put shrimp on a treadmill

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.