Jellyfish Lake

Via Neatorama..


Jellyfish Lake is an isolated saltwater lake in the Pacific island of Palau. In the geologic past it was tied to the ocean acquring jellyfish.  These jellyfish have become an isolated population lossing thier nematocysts (stinging cells).  They thrive in the lake at high number due to the lack of predators. [from Rick Macpherson] The jellies have acquired algal endosymbionts in their tissue (same genus as the zooxanthellae in coral)… during the day, the jellies rise to the surface in masses and track along the surface of the lake as the earth rotates… at night, the jellies sink to the deeper, anoxic but hyper-nitrogen waters of the lake to “fertilize” their algal tentants.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


2 Replies to “Jellyfish Lake”

  1. craig…

    cool vid but the mastigias jellies in palau don’t feed on phytoplankton… they are more farmers than hunters… the jellies have acquired algal endosymbionts in their tissue (same genus as the zooxanthellae in coral)… during the day, the jellies rise to the surface in masses and track along the surface of the lake as the earth rotates… at night, the jellies sink to the deeper, anoxic but hyper-nitrogen waters of the lake to “fertilize” their algal tentants…

    cool place and if you haven’t visited it’s a must add to your life list!

  2. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I believe these jellies were showcased in the IMAX film “The Living Sea”, which I think is one of the best IMAX movies out there. I’m going to assume that every marine scientist has already seen it so I won’t tell you to run out ASAP to catch it (not sure if it’s in IMAX theaters anymore and I doubt watching it on TV would be any where near as good anyways). Plus, Sting does a great job with the soundtrack.

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