Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jellyfish Lovers' Paradise!

Thanks to a Facebook post by my friend Dave Jenkins from Down Under, I've discovered a dream destination for jellyfish lovers, like myself! Jellyfish Lake in Palau is a marine lake on the island of Eil Malk. The lake is connected to the ocean by fissures and tunnels through the limestone from reefs that built the island.

Photo from To-Travelling - visit their website for more on the
lake and other fun things to do and see in Palau.

Not only is Jellyfish Lake a cnidarian-lovers' dream, but a chemical oceanographers' fantasy playground, too! The lake is stratified into oxygenated and anoxic layers, the deeper layer, devoid of oxygen, is also a toxic pool of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and phosphate due to a combination of conditions that prevent mixing of the two layers.

From Wikipedia

Wait! There's more! This is also a playground of fun discoveries for marine microbiologists: the first three meters of the anoxic zone is laden with bacteria, including at least one species of a purple photosynthetic sulfur bacterium. The bacterial population is so dense that this layer absorbs all sunlight so the anoxic layer below the bacterial plate is pitch dark, but transparent. Sadly, the hydrogen sulfide can be absorbed through a person's skin--and kill them--so you and I won't be able to dive down and see that for ourselves. SCUBA diving isn't allowed in the lake, only snorkeling, in an effort to keep tourists from dying.

Want to see what it looks like to swim through a lake filled with jellies? Click here to watch a YouTube video of the experience. While the video caption says these guys are non-stinging, that's not quite accurate. The golden jellies do sting, but their nematocysts have little effect on humans. We  hardly notice them unless you're allergic, in which case, you'll know they sting!

I've added yet another destination to my always-growing list of places to visit. Other people have bucket-lists of things to do before they die, my list is a travel itinerary. So many fabulous places left for me to explore. Finding one that is the ideal destination for a biogeochemistry loving island girl, well, that's the epitome of "must-see" places. Thanks for sharing, Dave!

For more on the lake and things to see and do in Palau, go to the Palau Visitor's Authority website here.


  1. As a friend of mine once remarked while he stared thoughtfully at a tall tube-like aquarium full of pink jellyfish: I knew there was a reason I took LSD in the 60s.

  2. : ) I'm convinced the reason lava lamps--probably by someone on LSD in the 60s--were invented was to mimick the chillaxin' experience of watching jellyfish swim!