Swimming by Jet Propulsion

Kelly Rakow Sutherland (krakow@whoi.edu),
MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography

Alexandra H. Techet,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Larry P. Madin,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Swimming by Jet Propulsion

The image above shows a jet wake produced by the salp, Cyclosalpa affinis. Salps, or pelagic tunicates, are common gelatinous organisms in oceanic waters. They swim by jet propulsion, drawing water through incurrent (oral) and excurrent (atrial) siphons at opposite ends of the body. The jet wake in the image was made visible using fluorescein dye during a night SCUBA dive. The authors of the study are looking at propulsive jet wakes to compare distinct swimming styles among different species of salps.

The work is supported by the National Science Foundation (OCE-0647723).

This image has not been published. (Credit: K.R. Sutherland)