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The Spectacular Salps!!

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

Have you ever seen a clear, jelly log while on the beach and wondered what it was? I know I have! Someone told me that these blobs were shark poo, and as weird as it sounded I simply assumed that they were right. But with further research into the mysterious blobs, I soon found out that they are called SALPS!


Salps are humble creatures, yet they are fighting climate change every night. When the sun sets, salps go to the surface of the sea every night and suck up phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that absorb Co2. By the time the sun starts to rise, the scalp will go down deeper in the water and will pop out heavy and carbon rich faeces, which will sink deep into the ocean. Putting carbon deep down onto the ocean floor.


According to a study published in 2020, salps, jellyfish and other animals such as comb jellies remove up to an estimated 6.8bn tonnes of carbon each year from seas around the world.


Who knew that marine life is cleaning the ocean?


Here is a salp that I recently found on the south coast of NSW, Australia


Salps are creatures that are classified as Phylum chordata, which is all creatures that have backbones. Despite looking like jellyfish, Salps are more closely related to humans!


I thought Salps would just float around in the water but they actually move in the water using jet propulsion. The contracting muscles inside a scalp pull water in the front of the scalp and out the rear, this is a very effective way for these animals to move around.


There are 70 species of salps found world wide, some as small as a couple of centimetres and other longer than that. 20 species of salps are found in southern Australian waters.

202 species of marine animals eat salps and although they don't provide much nutritional value, humans could eat them too. But I would advise against eating these creatures of the ocean.


Salps can grow at rapid rates and reach full maturity in 48 hours.



Salps can make chains that reach meters long.


It's clear that salps are really cool animals!


Thanks for reading,

Eliza

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