Smithsonian Highlights Oil Spill Research on Jellyfish

Jellyfish can help promote biodegradation by mixing oil into the water column and nourishing oil-degrading microorganisms with their mucus. (Photo credit: Brad Gemmell)

(Click to enlarge) Jellyfish can help promote biodegradation by mixing oil into the water column and nourishing oil-degrading microorganisms with their mucus. (Photo credit: Brad Gemmell)

Jellyfish push water in and out of their bells to propel themselves forward. Researchers are investigating if and how the small underwater waves and currents created by Jellyfish movements can help break up oil spilled in marine ecosystems.

The Smithsonian posted an article featuring scientist Brad Gemmell’s research about interactions of gelatinous zooplankton with oil. As members of the DROPPS consortium, he and his team monitor jellyfish movements and their affect on oil droplets and the influence that jellyfish mucus has on oil-degrading bacteria.

Read the Ocean Portal article to learn how jellyfish get oil moving.

For more information about this research, read Study Finds Jellyfish are Monitors for and Conveyors of Crude Oil Toxins.

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GoMRI and the Smithsonian have a partnership to enhance oil spill science content on the Ocean Portal website.

This research was made possible in part by a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to the Dispersion Research on Oil: Physics and Plankton Studies (DROPPS) consortium. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.