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 November 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 November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Buzz60 (Nov. 20, 2014) Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer teamed up with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and others to investigate a predatory glow worm found in the Amazon. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains. 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