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.

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 September 21, 2014 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 September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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