Study Finds Jellyfish Can Detect Ocean Currents and Swim Against Them

Posted on February 1, 2015

Tagged jellyfish

Jellyfish do not drift aimlessly in the water. Scientists have determined that jellyfish can sense ocean currents and swim against them. In the study, barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma octopus were tagged by researchers from Swansea University.

The researchers also observed the swimming direction of large numbers of jellyfish. Data from the GPS loggers and GPS-tracked floats and observations indicate that jellyfish can swim at counter-current. The researchers say the data helps explain how jellyfish are able to form and maintain jellyfish blooms containing hundreds of million of individual jellies.

Swansea University Biosciences Professor Graeme Hays, says in a statement, "Detecting ocean currents without fixed visual reference points is thought to be close to impossible and is not seen, for example, in lots of migrating vertebrates including birds and turtles. Jellyfish are not just bags of jelly drifting passively in the oceans. They are incredibly advanced in their orientation abilities.

The scientists do not yet know how the jellyfish determine which way to go. Here is a video of on the tagged jellyfish. Take a look:

A research paper on the jellyfish was published here in the journal, Current Biology.

Photo: Graeme Hays/Swansea University

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