Most bathers swim a mile when they encounter jellyfish.

However, a Scots-based university researcher plans to spend more time getting to understand them after he was awarded a £1.5 million European grant for a new project.

Professor Malte Gather, of St Andrews University, is to go ahead with the work following the award from the European Research Council to further advance groundbreaking work with bioluminescent jellyfish.

The five year Advanced Bioderived and Biocompatible Lasers (ABLASE) project led starts this month and will develop lasers based on single cells.

Prof Gather has already found that the green fluorescent protein molecules jellyfish produce can be used to turn individual human kidney cells into tiny lasers. The discovery earned an entry in the Guinness World Records for the first living laser.

Recent work has involved developing tiny solid-state lasers with record performance from fluorescent proteins found in the jellyfish.

Prof Gather said: "Both the living lasers based on single cells and the solid-state protein lasers are intrinsically biocompatible, thus offering unique properties not shared by any existing laser."