See the amazing symbiotic relationship that has evolved between jellyfish and algae. This relationship began 12,000 years ago when ocean levels were higher as a result of melting glaciers. With the higher ocean levels, creatures like the golden jellyfish trickled into an island lake. As the ocean levels dropped, the jellyfish became trapped and evolved a symbiotic relationship with algae that require sunlight for energy and, in turn, produce sugar that feeds the jellyfish.

Because of the lack of predators, these jellyfish are now “stingless” and people from around the world travel to Jellyfish Lake in Palau to swim with these amazing animals. The experience has been described as sensual since there are millions of these jellyfish in the lake and the sensation of them rubbing against your skin is like “being wrapped in silk ribbons”.


  1. #1 Blind Squirrel
    December 29, 2011

    “This relationship began 12,000 years ago…”

    Has this been established Or is this an assumption?

    “the jellyfish became trapped and evolved a symbiotic relationship with algae…”

    The reason I asked is that there is a very common jellyfish, Cassiopeia, which also uses symbiotic algae for energy, and as far as I know hasn’t ever been trapped anywhere. Cassiopeia still possesses stinging cells, however.

    “Because of the lack of predators, these jellyfish are now “stingless”…”

    I don’t see how this follows, because sea jellies (can we call them that please) use their stinging cells to gather food.


  2. #2 Deacon Bill Gallerizzo
    Cape Cod, MA
    July 31, 2012

    The jellyfish have symbiotic algae living within their gastric cavities that provide them with nutrients, and the algae are safe from those things that would prey upon them. There is a daily sequence that has been going on for thousands of years: in the morning when the sun rises, the Jellyfish are on the eastern side of the lake and rise to the surface, which allows the algae to photosynthesize, producing food for the jellyfish. As the sun moves across the sky from East to West, so do the Jellyfish traverse the lake to the West until sundown when the jellyfish then drift to the bottom. They swim across the lake to the East at night and the process starts again the next morning. Coral are also symbiotic in that algae live inside their gastric cavities as well and give them color. When coral are white, they’re dead, as the zooanthellae provide their nutrients and the coral provide protection from predators.

  3. #3 pendahoe
    November 23, 2012

    what is the name of algae? Are studies being down ?

  4. #4 pendahoe
    November 23, 2012

    What is the name or type of algae the jelly have in thier system?