Jellyfish and Friends are Greener Than You

Jellyfish and Friends are Greener Than You

So you recycle. Maybe you even tote your purchases in canvas bags. You say you keep a compost bin, walk everywhere you can, and unplug all of your junk when it’s not in use? Cool.

You still have nothing on the jellies.

The journal Nature has just released a study indicating that jellyfish—along with some other marine friends—may actually be helping to reduce the effects of climate change.

See? They’re not so bad. Just don’t get any ideas on what to do with them from Will Smith—or Nemo’s dad, for that matter.

Apparently, the jellyfish are stirring up the oceans, or causing “ocean mixing,” which answers the question that scientists have been asking for many years: if warm water mixes with cold water in the ocean, causing carbon dioxide to be dissolved in the surface water and stored there for long periods of time, could animals contribute to the process?

It seems that the answer could be yes. And not just a so-so yes; this is the very procedure that helps the Earth cool down, as well as regulate nutrients found in the ocean. And let’s face it—as cute as bunnies and kittens and baby bats are, they can’t pull this stuff off.

Scientists also say that the process, along with other oceanic occurrences, is a key indicator of climate change. Bioengineer and coauthor of the study, John Dabiri, says, “It’s important for us to understand the dynamics of the ocean in order to really understand what’s going to happen to climate over land.”

To prove that the jellies have a role in ocean mixing—which is normally attributed to winds and tides—Dabiri filmed jellyfish as they swam, studying how the waters moved in their wake.

In bringing this water down into the deepest depths of the ocean as they swim—which they do, as you may know, to escape from predators—they may in fact be toting dissolved carbon dioxide with them, creating a change in the atmosphere’s overall carbon count.

That said, there is still more evidence and larger-scaled studies needed to conclusively prove that jellyfish are helping to regulate the Earth’s climate. Still, it’s a fascinating concept and it would be awesome if proven completely true.

And you can still recycle and shop at the farmer’s market and use hemp wallets! Don’t despair just because the jellies might be more eco-friendly than you are. After all, they don’t have to pay rent—or TiVo Lost episodes!