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Jellyfish

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Published: 12 May 2022

Pharmacology Matters is delighted again to hold the annual Junior Science Writing Competition. The competition was for those between 7-11 years old and the only constraint on content was that entries must be related to science. Science is how we ask questions and collect evidence to better understand how the universe works. Whether that is by exploring where medicines come from, how stars are made, how bamboo grows, how we keep our homes warm in the winter, or why our bodies work the way they do – science is everywhere.

As usual we received lots of fantastic submissions on a broad range of science topics. The Judges were impressed by the creativity and curiosity of our young writers. Well done to everyone who entered!

Our panel of judges awarded first place to ‘My Life As A Blood Cell’ by Emily Legge (age 11). Our first runner up was Henry Dawson (age 11) with ‘Jellyfish’, and second runner up was Reuben Waitt (age 11) with ‘Chemistry Can Clean Corroded Coins’.

The Society recognises the importance of inspiring and encouraging the next generation of pharmacologists - whether that be through exploring how medicines are made, or supporting future pharmacologists to share exciting science - just like Emily, Henry and Reuben. If you'd like to get involved with inspiring the next generation of pharmacologists, please get in touch with the team at  - we would love to hear your ideas.
 

Jellyfish


 

Jellyfish are incredible and fascinating creatures. They live in the sea and snack on shrimps, crabs, tiny plants and even other species of jellyfish. They have been around for millions of years even before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Some of them are see-through, others are bright attractive colours and they can be bioluminescent which means they make their own light.  

Jellyfish have no brain, heart, bones or eyes; they have a body like a bag and tentacles that dangle below their blob-like body. The tentacles are covered in tiny cells that sting and stun their prey so that they can eat the creature or plant that they have caught. Their mouth is in the middle of their super strange body which is used for getting rid of waste. They also squirt water from their mouths which propels them through the murky depths. When they eat they have to digest their food quickly or they will sink into the bottom of the sea.  

Jellyfish stings can be brutal to humans and be very painful. They  can even be fatal from some dangerous species. There are more than two thousand different types of jellyfish, but scientists think there could be many that are yet to be discovered. About 70 of those species can be harmful to humans.

I have done some research on three types of Jellyfish: 

Australian Box Jellyfish  

The Australian Box Jellyfish is known to be the most venomous marine creature in the world, and its sting is so painful that people have been known to have shock or heart attacks before they get to shore because of the pain. Each of its tentacles have about 5,000 stinging cells and this fish can grow up to 15 tentacles, each of which can grow to 3 metres long. 

Portuguese Man ‘O War  

The Portuguese Man ‘O War is a super weird creature or should I say creatures as it is actually made of lots of different parts or polyps that work as a team to be one creature and to feed and survive in the sea. It has a fascinating inflatable sail that helps it float on the surface and drag its 30 metre long tentacles behind it. They feast on small fish which they trap with their deadly tentacles which then pass the fish onto another part of the jellyfish which digests them with toxic chemicals. 

Immortal Jellyfish 

The last jellyfish that I am going to focus on is the immortal jellyfish. This tiny creature which is about 4.5 millimetres wide is just unreal because it can in theory live FOREVER! What this means is that it can reverse its life cycle and go from the mature medusa into a polyp, if it is short of food or threatened. If it isn’t eaten then in theory it could carry on doing this forever.

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