Marine Animal Colony is a Multi-Jet Swimming Machine

October 14th, 2015 @   - 

Marine animals that swim by jet propulsion, such as squid and jellyfish, are not uncommon. But it’s rare to find a colony of animals that coordinates multiple jets for whole-group locomotion. Last month in Nature Communications, scientists report on a colonial jellyfish-like species, Nanomia bijuga, that uses a sophisticated, multi-jet propulsion system based on an elegant division of labor among young and old members of the colony. This locomotive solution, the team suggests, could illuminate the design of underwater distributed-propulsion vehicles.

“This is a highly efficient system in which no developmental stage is wasted,” says lead author John H. Costello of Providence College, an Adjunct Scientist in the Eugene Bell Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole.

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