A new study has revealed one of the reasons why jellyfish are called the world’s most competent swimmer. Scientists from the University of South Florida have said that jellyfish develop two vortex rings, which are donut-shaped structures of fluids under their lucid bodies. These shapes of fluids keep spinning in opposite directions. It looks like jellyfish clutch and reopen during each swimming cycle. It gives a ground effect force as they are about to be pushed off from the seabed. Such ground effect force can be seen on airport runways. Scientists have said that during the takeoff, the air compresses between the aircraft and ground, it gives more pressure and force, which boosts performance. The author of the study Brad Gemmell, who is an associate professor of Integrative Biology, has said that jellyfish are able to use their two vortex rings in place of the ground. These vortex rings oppose each other, which builds a virtual wall. This virtual wall gives an immense boost to the swimming performance of jellyfish as compared to other animals that swim close to the seafloor. For the first time, this study has revealed that an animal can acquire this phenomenon away from a solid edge.
The findings of the study have shown that a simple marine animal has been able to achieve ground effect kind boost in open water, without a solid surface. The study has been able to open up an array of new possibilities for engineered vehicles to be benefitted from this phenomenon. The findings of the study have been released in the journal called Proceedings of the Royal Societies B. Brad Gemmell has recorded the motion by tracking the movements of eight jellyfish which have been swimming in a glass filming vessel. Experts have used a high-speed digital camera at 1000 frames per second during their experiment. The team of experts has found that the maximum swimming speed of jellyfish that have been in motion has increased by 41 percent. There has been an increase of 61 percent in cumulative distance covered per swimming cycle as compared to those starting from rest.
Experts have said that jellyfish do not generate cavitation bubbles and they are silent, which allows them to more quietly through the water, unlike locomotion propellers. As per the findings of the study, the high competence of swimming allows jellyfish to store energy, which helps them in growth and reproduction. Many studies have been using jellyfish as models to develop underwater vehicles. These engineered vehicles can be equipped with sensors, which track the ocean without any disturbance. Experts have claimed that these findings will help in the development of such technologies and further understanding of the ocean.