NANO Alumnus Kentaro Suzuki and colleagues published the following article in the journal Plos One:
Seasonal alternation of the ontogenetic development of the moon jellyfish Aurelia coerulea in Maizuru Bay, Japan
Suzuki, K. S. et al. (2019) Plos One, DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0225513
Outbreaks of moon jellyfish Aurelia spp. are frequently reported from many parts of the world’s coastal areas. Aurelia spp. canonically show a metagenetic life cycle in which planulae transform into sessile polyps, which can drastically increase in number through asexual reproduction. Therefore, their asexual reproduction has been recognized as one of the major causes of the outbreaks. Aurelia spp. also show direct development that lacks asexual reproduction during the polyp stage, which prevents us from understanding the mechanisms of its outbreaks. To clarify the seasonality of the metagenetic and direct-development life cycles of Aurelia sp. in Maizuru Bay, Japan, we conducted field observations and laboratory experiments throughout the year. Additionally, the two life cycle types were genetically analyzed to confirm that they belong to the single species Aurelia coerulea, which dominates in coastal waters in Japan. From July until October, Aurelia coerulea produced smaller eggs and planulae all of which developed into polyps. However, from December until May, larger eggs and planulae were produced and 90% of the planulae developed into planktonic ephyrae bypassing the sessile polyp stage. Our results demonstrated that a single species, A. coerulea, seasonally shifts between their two life cycle types at a water temperature threshold of 20°C in Maizuru Bay. The higher energy storage of larger planulae was suggested to enable the planulae to develop into ephyrae without external energy input through feeding during the polyp stage. The adaptive significances of the two life cycle types were also discussed.
Link for the publication here