The Presence of a Substrate Strengthens The Jet Generated by Upside-Down Jellyfish

Nicholas Battista, Manikantam G. Gaddam, Christina L. Hamlet, Alexander P. Hoover, Laura A. Miller, Arvind Santhanakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopea, are prevalent in warm and shallow parts of the oceans throughout the world. They are unique among jellyfish in that they rest upside down against the substrate and extend their oral arms upwards. This configuration allows them to continually pull water along the substrate, through their oral arms, and up into the water column for feeding, nutrient and gas exchange, and waste removal. Although the hydrodynamics of the pulsation of jellyfish bells has been studied in many contexts, it is not clear how the presence or absence of the substrate alters the bulk flow patterns generated by Cassiopea medusae. In this paper, we use three-dimensional (3D) particle tracking velocimetry and 3D immersed boundary simulations to characterize the flow generated by upside-down jellyfish. In both cases, the oral arms are removed, which allows us to isolate the effect of the substrate. The experimental results are used to validate numerical simulations, and the numerical simulations show that the presence of the substrate enhances the generation of vortices, which in turn augments the upward velocities of the resulting jets. Furthermore, the presence of the substrate creates a flow pattern where the water volume within the bell is ejected with each pulse cycle. These results suggest that the positioning of the upside-down jellyfish such that its bell is pressed against the ocean floor is beneficial for augmenting vertical flow and increasing the volume of water sampled during each pulse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number847061
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - May 12 2022


  • benthic boundary layer
  • cassiopea
  • fluid dynamics
  • immersed boundary method
  • particle tracking velocimetry
  • shake the box

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


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