Feeding Currents of the Upside Down Jellyfish in the Presence of Background Flow

Christina L. Hamlet, Laura A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The upside-down jellyfish (Cassiopea spp.) is an ideal organism for examining feeding and exchange currents generated by bell pulsations due to its relatively sessile nature. Previous experiments and numerical simulations have shown that the oral arms play an important role in directing new fluid into the bell from along the substrate. All of this work, however, has considered the jellyfish in the absence of background flow, but the natural environments of Cassiopea and other cnidarians are dynamic. Flow velocities and directions fluctuate on multiple time scales, and mechanisms of particle capture may be fundamentally different in moving fluids. In this paper, the immersed boundary method is used to simulate a simplified jellyfish in flow. The elaborate oral arm structure is modeled as a homogenous porous layer. The results show that the oral arms trap vortices as they form during contraction and expansion of the bell. For constant flow conditions, the vortices are directed gently across the oral arms where particle capture occurs. For variable direction flows, the secondary structures change the overall pattern of the flow around the bell and appear to stabilize regions of mixing around the secondary mouths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2547-2569
Number of pages23
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamic flow
  • Jellyfish feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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