The Upside-Down Jellyfish

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The upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopea, rests its bell against the ocean floor and points its frilly oral arms up toward the sun for the benefit of the symbiotic algae living on it. In return, the algae provide some of the nutrients the jellyfish needs. The rest it obtains by filter feeding for zooplankton. The video above shows how a combination of flow visualization and simplified computational modeling can reveal the jellyfish’s methods for eating. A simple pulsing bell has limited fluid flow in the region of the jellyfish’s mouths, but the addition of a permeable layer (representative of the oral arms) significantly enhances mixing. (Video credit: T. Rodriguez et al.)

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