Jellyfishes are by no means wimp when it comes to their swimming prowess. Their ability to find the proper current enables them to swim to places they want to go. This is very important in their ability to find foods and escape from harm. So what’s their secret?
This research team will tell us what they have learned so far.
Jellyfish may lack brains, but these very simple animals are far stronger at swimming than biologists once believed, according to a new evaluation produced from data collected by tagging quite a few of the creatures.
We know they lack brains. Their transparent body or is that an oversized head, shows no sign of any of it whatsoever. But we can’t discount their ability to adapt. They have been in existence for around 650 million years ago. Remember man is just 7 million years old, a sort of a grandson to jellyfishes in the order of evolution.
The study was done by tagging a number of jellyfishes. The data showed that they have swimming abilities far stronger than what biologists previously believe.
These “mesogleans”, their gelatin-like body component is called mesoglea, have the ability to detect regional ocean currents and swim against them. Regional currents are produced by the presence of chain of islands and wind speed.
This may lead in solving the mystery of jellyfish “blooms”. The gelatinous population gather together in hundreds of thousands or in millions in one area, which some marine scientists find to have adverse effect in ocean parts where they come to assemble. The aggrupation can last for several months before they go on their own separate ways.
(There were 18 large barrel jellyfishes tagged by the research team using electronic trackers. This allows researchers to monitor every movement of the jellyfishes exactly during the entire duration of the study. A cable was used to connect the monitor to the jellyfishes without causing them any harm. While following the movement of the jellyfishes they also record the currents and other ocean developments. Their findings of Biscay, off the coast of France, were beyond their expectation
“Detecting ocean currents without fixed visual reference points is believed to be close to impossible and is not observed, for instance, in lots of migrating vertebrates such as birds and turtles. Jellyfish are not just bags of jelly drifting passively in the oceans. They are extremely advanced in their orientation abilities,” Graeme Hays of Swansea University in Wales and Deakin University in Australia said.
The research team were confused and having difficulty in trying to establish how these simple animals were able to find an existing watery road map and use it to swim against the water current. One theory is they just float along using the ocean currents to reach their destinations. Another possibility is using the earth’s magnetic fields to help them navigate. .
Jellyfish don’t have brains, we know that already, and in addition they also don’t have a heart. They thought to have evolved around 500 million years ago which is different from the figure we have given already. They are present in all the oceans of the world.
Aside from what we have mentioned in the introduction, their ability to swim where they would want to go help them also participate in jellyfish blooms, allows them to stay cohesive as group, prevents individual animals getting trapped in currents and the possibility of being marooned in some strange beaches.
We have also discussed in the introduction about concerns of negative effects they might have in the places where they are found, especially in large numbers.. Their sting can be very painful for humans, they eat fish fries and fish eggs, they obstruct fish nets and they even eat each other. So much more for being simple animals.
However they also serve as foods for leatherneck turtles and other marine dwellers. The research group hope the data they gather will also be applicable to other jellyfish species. This will help a lot in understanding blooms.
Analysis of jellyfish behavior using tracking devices was profiled in the journal Current Biology.