78ºF

Jellyfish snot cleans oiled water

Research reveals how jellyfish help break down oil spill disasters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Can you believe Jellyfish snot can help break down oil after a spill. What? I know it sounds gross but the mucus, resembling snot, from the floating gelatinous creatures does help.

Oil can be consumed and degraded by living organisms.  Oil-consuming bacteria thrive from the nitrogen found in jelly mucus.  The bacteria’s numbers are boosted resulting in oil breaking down quicker.

Even stressing out during an oil spill catastrophe can help. During tense situations we often sweat, likewise, Jellyfish produce more mucus when the animals get stressed out. This can be beneficial especially in areas away from the coast where nutrients are often deficient.

Also jellyfish can mix water to dissolve oil. They are actually the most energy-efficient swimmers in the ocean by using such little energy to swim up and down. Jellyfish drift with the ocean currents but use their weak muscles to move up or down.

Marine Biologist Brad Gemmell at the University of South Florida is using unique visualization tools to see how water trapped in their bells of jellyfish get squirted out propelling them forward. This creates small waves and turbulence that mixes up the oil.

Visualizing animal behavior and fluid signals simultaneously provides a better understanding of how animals help clean aquatic environments. 

 


About the Author: