70th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (November 19, 2017 — November 21, 2017)

V0089: Upside Down Ecosystem Engineers

  • Manikantam Gaddam, Oklahoma State University
  • Matthew Takyi-Micah, Oklahoma State University
  • Vishwa Kasoju, Oklahoma State University
  • Arvind Santhanakrishnan, Oklahoma State University
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/APS.DFD.2017.GFM.V0089

In contrast to most jellyfish that swim, the 'upside-down' Cassiopea jellyfish prefers to remain attached to the sandy bottoms of shallow ocean waters such as mangrove swamps and coral reefs. These animals spend most of their life pulsing their gelatinous bells, which in turn generate currents that help them to capture suspended prey in the water. Due to the lack of strong background flows in their typical habitats, the self-generated currents of Cassiopea play a significant role in unlocking nutrients trapped in the sediments and mix them in the water column. By engineering their immediate ecosystem, Cassiopea have been able to thrive in environments that are considered challenging for non-moving marine organisms. In this video, we use laser-induced fluorescence technique to visualize the release of dye buried under the sand bed---through the pulsing activity of upside-down jellyfish.

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