Jellyfish Lake: This lake has millions of Jellyfish
If you’re familiar with Palau, Micronesia, you’re probably aware of the jellyfish-infested lake. If not, it’s probable that you’ll be adding it to your travel bucket list soon!
Palau, like most of Micronesia, is breathtakingly gorgeous. It also features a one-of-a-kind attraction that draws visitors all year. It’s known as Jellyfish Lake.
A diving trip to Jellyfish Lake is a must-do during your stay to Palau. Squishy jellies surround you as you explore this strange environment, similar to swimming in a lava lamp.
Eil Mul is a small island located in Palau’s thinly populated country. This island, barely visible above the ocean’s high tide, holds a mystery.
This reminds me of The pink lake in Australia.
A marine lake just a few hundred feet from the beach is home to millions of jellyfish. The lake’s jellies have been there for over 12,000 years. They have developed their own biology and lifestyle as a result of being cut off from the rest of the ocean. Seawater and rains enter the lake through a shallow network of coral chambers that date back to before humans inhabited the planet. Though water can flow in and out of these cracks and crevices, the jellyfish are unable to depart.
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The moon and golden jellyfish in the lake have mutated slightly as a result of their long seclusion. Golden jellyfish are genetically similar to their common brethren in surrounding lagoons, yet they have a number of distinguishing traits. The golden jellies have shorter arms and missing spots. They rely on a symbiotic interaction with algae residing in their tissue to survive.
Scientists are currently deciphering the cryptic mysteries of the DNA of these moon jellyfishes in the lake, but they are very convinced the species has not interbred with other moon jellies in millions of years.
Both residents of the lake have lost most of their stinging tendrils, making them harmless to divers. As a result, divers from all over the world have made the gorgeous lake full of gentle jellyfish a must-see destination.
There are millions of jellyfish in this lake, with Moon and Golden jellies being the two most common varieties. The typical jellyfish floats along with the stream, without any sense of direction. The Golden Jellyfish, however, is not one of them.
These jellyfish migrates across the lake’s surface on a regular basis, following the Sun during the day and even the Moon at night. Despite their huge numbers, they only swim near the water’s surface, where they may find food and oxygen. Jellyfish Lake’s bottom is a deadly trap. The atmosphere is lifeless below the point where the reef lets freshwater in. A trip to the lake bottom, which is devoid of oxygen and polluted with hydrogen sulphide, would kill a jellyfish and be dangerous to a human diver too.
Stratification of The Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake is divided into two layers: a mixolimnion (oxygenated upper layer) and an anoxic lower layer (monimolimnion). The oxygen level in the lake drops from roughly 5 parts per million at the surface to zero around 15 metres (at the chemocline). Seasonal mixing does not occur because to continuous stratification. The lake is one of approximately 200 saline meromictic lakes discovered throughout the world. However, the majority of these lakes are made up of freshwater. Permanently stratified marine lakes are uncommon, however there are eleven others on Eil Malk and neighbouring islands that appear to be permanently stratified.
The stratification of the lake is caused by factors that inhibit or limit vertical water mixing. These are some of the conditions:
- The lake is encircled by rock walls and forests, which significantly reduce the amount of wind that can produce mixing.
- The lake’s principal water sources (rain, runoff, and tidal flows through tunnels) are all located near the surface.
- Because the lake lies in the tropics, where seasonal temperature variations are modest, there is no temperature inversion that can produce vertical mixing in temperate zones.
These jellyfish choose to stay in their isolated lake, near to the surface, where the environment is delicately adjusted to maintain life. Warming climate conditions have wreaked havoc on Jellyfish Lake in the past, with the population plummeting after powerful El Nio events. Despite challenges posed by global warming, the population has shown a remarkable ability to recover in a short amount of time. After nearly disappearing from the lake in 1998, jellyfish managed to make a full recovery by 2012.