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A Surprising Appetite for Dead Jellyfish

Marine scientists previously suspected that dead jellyfish were not a preferred choice of food for ocean floor scavengers, but a recently-recorded test using Helmet and Lion’s Mane jellyfish has prompted a rethinking of the jellyfish’s position in the food web. From The New York Times:

Work done in Norway by Andrew Sweetman of the International Research Institute of Stavanger and his colleagues suggests that the impression left by previous ocean-floor observations may be the exception, not the rule.

They sank platforms loaded with jellyfish and other platforms loaded with mackerel more than 4,000 feet deep in the Sognefjord, Norway’s largest fjord. And what they found was that the seafloor cleanup crew — hagfish, crabs and other creatures — gobbled up the jellyfish just as fast as the mackerel, within a few hours.

Watch and read more about the study at NYT. Related watching on this site: more jellyfish videos, Feedback loops: How nature gets its rhythms, and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale), an incredible paper-cut animation.

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