Uet era Ongael
Although Jellyfish Lake is the most famous lake with jellyfish in Palau, it is not the only one. In more than 20 marine lakes (small saltwater lakes connected to the sea through limestone fissures) of Palau there is living jellyfish. Five of these lakes have been studied more – the mentioned Jellyfish Lake, Goby Lake, Uet era Ngermeuangel, Clear Lake and Uet era Ongael.
Map of the site
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Testing ground for evolution
Each of the marine lakes of Palau has a specific set of species occasionally trapped in lakes by the receding sea 15 – 10 thousand years ago. Some lakes have steeper banks, some are elongated in an east-west direction, some in a south-north direction. Every such detail leads to different circumstances and consequently – different new species and subspecies of animals.
Some marine lakes of Palau are made even more exotic by the fact that they are meromictic – below the upper layer of marine water there is a layer of "dead", anoxic water separated by a layer of floating microorganisms, including a purple bacteria.
Such unusual monuments of nature serve as excellent “testing ground” for studies of evolution. Thus lately several scientists have made interesting treatises about these lakes. Lucky them (scientists!) – making science in beautiful Palau…
Jellyfish of president Remengesau
Ongael Lake is the smallest and shallowest and youngest of the famous Palau jellyfish lakes. The area of the lake is 0.9 ha, maximum length roughly 100 meters and depth – up to 4 meters. Contrary to other jellyfish lakes Uet era Ongael is holomictic – wind and sea tides (through fissures in Miocene limestone) are well mixing the water and there is no accrued “dead” water at the bottom as it happens with deeper lakes.
Although lake is quite small it contains endemic subspecies of golden jellyfish Mastigias cf. papua remengesaui named after president of Palau Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. In the lake is met also another kind of jellyfish – Aurelia sp. and Cassiopea sp.
Mastigias of Ongael Lake is the most ornate of Palauan lake jellyfish – it is ornamented with solid white spots, smaller jellyfish is pale blue. This is a comparatively small jellyfish, diameter does not exceed 15 cm.
In Ongael Lake number of jellyfish fluctuates with an approximate one year cycle, sometimes it disappears, sometimes is abundant.
Lake is new (12 – 5 thousand years old) and it is truly amazing to see how quickly a new subspecies develops in such a small lake.
- Coral Reef Research Foundation, Marine Lakes Research Accessed 08.02.10.
- Jellyfish swarms, tourists, and the Christ-child. Mike N. Dawson, Laura E. Martin, Lolita K. Penland. Hydrobiologia 451: 131-144, 2001.
- Five new subspecies of Mastigias (Scyphozoa: Rhizostomeae: Mastiigidae) from marine lakes, Palau, Micronesia, Michael N. Dawson. Journal of Marine Biological Association, U.K. 2005., 85., 679-694. Accessed 08.02.10.
Although Palau is small in size, it offers a surprising diversity of interesting monuments. Several of these monuments are true wonders and there are several unresolved mysteries related to Palau.
There are many factors that can make lakes, sea bays, or rivers unusual. Some lakes have unusual chemical properties and even do not contain water at all – such as lava lakes. Others may have unusual animals living in them or… legends about such animals.
The sight of the gathering of countless penguins or antelopes is very fascinating and intriguing. There are locations in the world where such gatherings are permanent or regular, and: if there is a location with intriguing sights – this is a landmark!
Author Annette White has made a second career out of writing her bucket list… and then crossing things off of it! One day this owner of a Michelin-recommended restaurant in Northern California decided to live her dream.
Palau is one of the world’s underwater wonders and Yap is both the most culturally intact isle in the region and a worthy diving and snorkeling mecca in its own right. This guide is new for 2016, with new images, more information on the outer atolls, and updated dive site information.