Korea’s plan to shred a jellyfish plague with robots could spawn millions more

Korea’s plan to shred a jellyfish plague with robots could spawn millions more

By Christopher Mims @mims October 7, 2013

Some jellyfish only become stronger after being attacked by robots. Specifically, the jellyfish-shredding robots of the Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm, or JEROS, developed by researchers at the Korea Science Academy. In theory, using semi-autonomous robots to round up jellyfish in nets and shred thousands per hour is one of the few ways to eliminate these otherwise virtually unstoppable beasts, which earlier this week shut down a nuclear reactor in Sweden, which sounds exotic but is actually a fairly common problem. But turning some species of these creatures into jellyfish gazpacho could actually lead to more of them, notes jellyfish biologist Rebecca Helm. Cutting open sea nettles, for example, is actually one way to artificially fertilize them.Assuming you rip through 6,000 jellies per hour for 12 hours, you’ve now released SEVENTY TWO THOUSAND jellies worth of eggs and sperm into the water all at once, rather than slowly over time. And where are those embryos going to go? They’re going to the sea floor to metamorphose into polyps, in stressful conditions that are now great for them and terrible for everyone else (thanks to all the dead biomass floating around) and they’re going to multiply. Jelly polyps can live for years, and can clone themselves. One polyp can produce hundreds of clones, and each clone can produce hundreds of jellies. Get where I’m going with this?

And that nightmare scenario is just the start. Shredded jellyfish tentacles can still sting, and once they’ve been diced by the JEROS, they’ll pass right through the nets designed to protect swimming areas. Chopped up jellyfish goop can also threaten nuclear power plants just as effectively as whole jellies. Plus, these robots will essentially fill the seas with mulch made out of jelly biomass, which will fall to the seafloor and could smother whatever was trying to make a living down there.

Helm’s favorite solution to the jellyfish plague currently afflicting the world’s oceans—which scientists attribute to both over-fishing and climate change—is to harvest the jellies, remove the salt and use them as fertilizer for land-based crops.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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