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My Hummer Doesn’t Cause Climate Change – It’s Those Damned Jellyfish!

This one looks like it came from the petrochemicals lobby. It's all a matter of perspective really. If you live on a low-lying island in the Tuamoto group and find that your ocean view has extended into your living room – you might be more inclined to believe in climate change. If you're a US Congressman with a couple of lucrative but low-effort positions on the boards of management of oil companies, road-construction firms and car manufacturers, you might be more inclined to deny all knowledge of environmental issues. Or, failing that, you might want to just blame…. The JELLYFISH!


Swimming jellyfish and other marine animals help mix warm and cold water in the oceans and, by increasing the rate at which heat can travel through the ocean, may influence global climate. The controversial idea was first proposed by researchers out of the California Technical Institute in 2009, but new information may help the scientists support their claim.

Dr. Kakani Katija Young, who worked on the original paper, and her team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published an article in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) this month, explaining how to use a Self-Contained Underwater Velocimetry Apparatus (SCUVA).

The apparatus is used underwater at night to light up animals, like jellyfish, swimming in the ocean. It also illuminates the particles around the animals, showing how the animals move the water around them when they swim.

The combined effect of all ocean life swimming in concert may have an impact on ocean climate on the same magnitude as wind.

Though the apparatus was used in the original research, Dr. Young is publishing the experimental technique now in the hopes that other scientists will use it to gather more evidence supporting her theory.
"We felt that it is such a powerful tool that isn't being used in the community," she said. "And I feel that people learn so much better from visual material than they do from just reading text."

JoVE Featured Scientist: Kakani Katija Talks Jellyfish and Ocean Climate from Katherine Scott on Vimeo.

Source: The Journal of Visualized Experiments

About The Journal of Visualized Experiments:
The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is the first and only Pubmed and Medline indexed academic journal devoted to publishing research in the biological sciences in video format. Using an international network of videographers, JoVE films and edits videos of researchers performing new experimental techniques at top universities, allowing students and scientists to learn them much more quickly. As of September 2011 JoVE has released 55 monthly issues including over 1300 video-protocols on experimental approaches in developmental biology, neuroscience, microbiology and other fields.

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