Dr. Jennifer Purcell, one of the world's great jellyfish experts, at ULPGC

The ECOAQUA Institute, belonging to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), welcomes the visit of Dr. Jennifer Purcell, a researcher from Western Washington University (USA) who is in Spain within the program Fulbright, one of the most prestigious scholarships worldwide.

Dr. Purcell is working with the Ecophysiology Group of Marine Organisms (EOMAR) of Instituto Universitario ECOAQUA to carry out a study whose objective is a first approximation to the knowledge of the metabolism of jellyfish and its possible later use. Jennifer Purcell is a renowned international scientist and one of the world's great jellyfish experts.

The Rector of the ULPGC, Rafael Robaina, has received the visit of this American researcher, accompanied by the professor in Zoology of the ULPGC, May Gómez, with whom he is developing the works.

It should be noted that, although EOMAR is a group of expert research in metabolism, never before had the opportunity to work with jellyfish, so that the possible results obtained will be a major advance of interest for the scientific community that really addresses a challenge of society. There is no other research group in Spain or in the world that is addressing this issue, so the project can be a great opportunity for EOMAR to become a pioneer of this type of studies at the international level, in addition to lead worldwide research related to this field.

Currently, jellyfish populations are increasing and appear more and more frequently on the Spanish coast. However, very little research has been done so far on their life cycles and there is an absolute lack of knowledge about their metabolism. It is necessary to study and deepen the knowledge of the metabolism and growth of jellyfish in order to be able to improve marine ecosystem models, which have not yet accurately described the dynamics of oceanic trophic nets. No exact prediction of the secondary production of the oceans can be made by not taking jellyfish into account. EOMAR believes that these models could be corrected by including the metabolism of jellyfish in their calculations.

A rare scholarship in the ULPGC

The visit of Jennifer Purcell is a great opportunity for the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, since it is not uncommon for the institution to receive researchers from the Fulbright program. This program, created in 1946, facilitates exchanges between citizens of the United States and more than 150 countries with the aim of increasing mutual understanding between nations. Its participants are chosen based on the criterion of transparency and academic, professional merit and leadership potential. Seventy years after its creation the Fulbright program continues to be an international reference and has already received more than 300,000 participants.