Join the Russian-based ‘Aquatilis’ Expedition After They Return From Exploring Three Oceans to Learn More About Gelatinous Microorgansims
by Carolyn Sotka
The focus of the Aquatilis expedition is to learn more about gelatinous plankton. Image from the Aquatilis Web site.
A team of Russian marine biologists just returned from five months at sea, where they traveled over 30,000 miles and through three oceans to learn more about Gelata, a subcategory of zooplankton (microscopic animals). Gelata are soft-bodied and gelatinous zooplankton that have a unifying characteristic of soft and extremely fragile jelly-like bodies, like jellyfish.
The route of the Aquatilis. Image from the Aquatilis Web site.
Other organisms that do not necessarily belong to the gelata group throughout their lives can go through a gelatinous stage. Starfish, crustaceans and sea worms, among others, go through a gelata stage early in their lifecycle, but grow into other types of animals afterwards. Very little is known about gelata because they are difficult to collect and study in laboratories, so the team set out on this journey to learn as much as they could about gelata and their role in the ecosystem.
The 70 ft. Aquatilis was designed to be a self-sufficient expedition yacht, equipped for long-term navigation through oceans rough and calm. Image from the Aquatilis Web site.