Watch: Jellyfish-Like Species That Combines Multiple Jets To Move In Water

Posted: Sep 2 2015, 12:24am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 2 2015, 12:27am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Watch: Jellyfish-Like Species that Combines Multiple Jets to Move in Water

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Using individual jet propulsion is common for marine animals. But coordinating multiple jets to swim through the water as an organized unit is unique

Many marine animals use their jet propulsion to swim through the water. But it is extremely rare to see an entire colony of animals combining their jets to move around as a group and to create a one big swimming blob.

A jellyfish like species, known as Nanomia bijuga uses sophisticated, multi jet system. It’s a great example of an organizing unit where workload is distributed between young and old members of the colony.

“This is a highly efficient system in which no development is wasted,” lead author John H. Costello from Providence College, Massachusetts said in a statement.

The young members of the colony’s propulsive unit use their little jets for turning and steering while older members provide the force that pushes the powerful unit forward from deep to surface ocean.

“It’s a quite sophisticated design, for what would seem like a simple arrangement,” said Costello. “The young members have what we call long lever arm. They are like the handle of a door. If you push on a door near it hinges – its axis of rotation – the door is hard to open. But if you push on the door handle, which is far from the axis of rotation, the door opens easily. A little force placed with a big lever arm has a big effect on turning.”

Nanomia bijuga belongs to a group of colonial animals that is related to jellyfish, squids and corals. They are only centimeters in length but can travel 200 meters a day. They come to the surface of the ocean at night for feeding themselves. Then return to the deep sea during the day, possibly to avoid predators.

To find out how the system works, scientists videotaped a colony at Friday Harbor, Washington. The video helped them analyze the size and force of individual jet and their axis of rotation. They found that young members though provide a small directed force but they have a big effect on turning the whole colony.

“Just because the young ones are small, it doesn’t mean they aren’t important,” said Costello. “These patterns permit all members of the colony to make important contributions to the propulsion and maneuvering traits that are critical for the success of Nanomia bijuga in its natural environment.”

The study was by Marine Biological Laboratory.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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