Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A New Species of Jellyfish Colony Inspires New Technology for Underwater Jet Propulsion Systems

The strong bond between young and old members of the colony favors jet propulsion mechanisms.
According to scientists’ recent discovery, a new species of jellyfish colony inspires new technology for underwater jet propulsion systems. The colony called Nanomia bijuga uses team work to swim and each individual member has a specific role, according to researchers’ new studies.

Colonies are renowned for the strong relationship existing between each member and for the conjoined efforts they are willing to make to keep the colony going. This behavior was believed to be specific only for land species until a new study came to debunk all our previous knowledge.
It appears that there is a new species of jellyfish that encourages every member in the colony to put their shoulders to the wheel. Based on the observations that researchers have made, there is a strong bond between young and old members of this underwater species and together they make the entire community move from one place to another.
By closely observing the movements of the colony, marine biologists at the Providence College have concluded that the movements that jellyfish make are similar to jet propulsion mechanisms. The leading positions of the colony are held by young members. The latter release small jets that allow them to turn and steer; thus, orienting the entire colony towards the desired direction.
Older members can release larger jets; therefore they are placed at the end of the colony. Their jets boost the speed of the colony, scientists have concluded. According to the lead author of the study, John H. Costello, the jet propulsion mechanism is made possible due to the long lever arm of the young members.
He provided the example of a door handle to better illustrate the movements of the jellyfish colony. The long lever arm has the same effects humans have on door handles when they push them at a farther distance from the axis of rotation. Doors open easier in this case, compared to the case when the hinges are pressed.
These findings have been accomplished with the help of underwater cameras that scientists have set up at the Friday Harbor in Washington. Images have revealed that the nectosome, the jet-producing members of the colony are identical clones.
The new discovery will be used for the improvement of the technology that is required for underwater jet propulsion mechanisms.

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