Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Life cycle of a jellyfish (and a way to control it)

Date:
January 16, 2014
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Those free-swimming jellyfish in the sea don't start out in that familiar medusa form, but rather start as sessile and asexual polyps. Now, researchers have discovered what triggers that transformation in the moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). The key is a novel metamorphosis hormone that accumulates during the cold winter to induce a synchronized emergence of jellyfish in the spring.

This image shows the life cycle of Aurelia aurita.
Credit: Current Biology, Fuchs et al.

Those free-swimming jellyfish in the sea don't start out in that familiar medusa form, but rather start as sessile and asexual polyps. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on January 16 have discovered what triggers that transformation in the moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). The key is a novel metamorphosis hormone that accumulates during the cold winter to induce a synchronized emergence of jellyfish in the spring.

Related Articles


This biological understanding might offer new methods for controlling moon jellyfish blooms, which can sometimes mean trouble for fisheries and other human endeavors, the researchers say. For example, a giant swarm of moon jellies shut down a nuclear reactor in Sweden last October.

"Now we know in detail why and how Aurelia polyps turn into jellyfishes," says Konstantin Khalturin of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. "We are also able to control polyp-to-jellyfish transition with an extremely powerful chemical inducer."

In the lab, the researchers can reliably force the polyp-to-jellyfish transition in just 48 hours; natural induction with cold temperatures alone used to take weeks.

The interest in jellyfish for Khalturin and his colleagues comes from a fascinating biological question: How do many animals develop several completely different body plans based on one genome? To find out, the authors conducted a series of experiments to uncover the molecular underpinnings of the process in Aurelia.

Their studies show that the Aurelia transition is a two-part process. The first part involves a signal common to other animals. The second depends on a novel protein, which acts as a temperature-sensitive "timer." That protein is also the precursor of the moon jellies' metamorphosis hormone.

Interestingly, Khalturin says, the hormone appears to differ in important ways amongst genetically distant strains of Aurelia. As a result, hormone-laden tissue taken from jellyfish in the Pacific Ocean would not turn polyps from the Baltic Sea into jellyfishes.

The researchers say the findings could in theory be used to control a population of Aurelia polyps in a medium-sized bay. "It is just necessary to induce their metamorphosis at the wrong period of time: the beginning of winter instead of spring," Khalturin says. Young jellyfish with nothing to eat will die, and there would be no jellyfish bloom the following summer.

Khalturin notes that similar strategies have been used for decades to fight malaria mosquitoes and caterpillar pests. However, he cautions, it will be absolutely necessary to ensure that the chemical analog of jellyfish hormone is safe to use.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fuchs et al. Regulation of polyp to jellyfish transition in Aurelia aurita. Current Biology, January 2014

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Life cycle of a jellyfish (and a way to control it)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116130650.htm>.
Cell Press. (2014, January 16). Life cycle of a jellyfish (and a way to control it). ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116130650.htm
Cell Press. "Life cycle of a jellyfish (and a way to control it)." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116130650.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins