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With their translucent bells, moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) move around the oceans in a very efficient way. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now used a mathematical model to investigate how these cnidarians manage to use their neural networks to control their locomotion even when they are injured. The results may also contribute to the optimization of underwater robots. The study has already been published online in the journal eLife; the final version will appear soon.
Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) are common in almost all oceans. The cnidarians move about in the oceans with their translucent bells, which measure from three to 30 centimeters. "These jellyfish have ring-shaped muscles that contract, thereby pushing the water out of the bell," explains lead author Fabian Pallasdies from the Neural Network Dynamics and Computation research group at the Institute of Genetics at the University of Bonn.
Moon - Jellyfish - Vortices - Edge - Bell
Moon jellyfish are particularly efficient when it comes to getting around: They create vortices at the edge of their bell, which increase propulsion. Pallasdies: "Furthermore, only the contraction of the bell requires muscle power; the expansion happens automatically because the tissue is elastic and returns to its original shape."
The scientists of the research group have now developed a mathematical model of the neural networks of moon jellyfish and used this to investigate how these networks regulate the movement of the animals. "Jellyfish are among the oldest and simplest organisms that move around in water," says the head of the research group, Prof. Dr. Raoul-Martin Memmesheimer. On the basis of them and other early organisms, the origins of the nervous system will now be investigated.
Century - Data - Jellyfish - Researchers - University
Especially in the 50s and 80s of the last century, extensive experimental neurophysiological data were obtained on jellyfish, providing the researchers at the University of Bonn with a basis for their...
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