Author Archives: AKlompen

Man-of-War venom, and the discovery of anaphylaxis

Two jellies have contributed to Nobel Prize winning research: The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1913 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008. In both cases the animals were actually hydrozoans: Physalia physalis, the Portuguese Man-of-War, and Aequorea victoria, the Crystal jelly. The 2008 prize was awarded for the discovery of green fluorescent protein, also known as GFP, isolated from

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Stung by a Moon – Celebration of the Aurelia aurita genome

On 3 December 2018, the first jellyfish genome was published online at Nature Ecology and Evolution. To clarify, the is the first genome of a cnidarian with a jellyfish stage (i.e. medusa). There are currently a few other jellies, like Hydra and Nematostella, that have had their genome available for several years. What was the lucky medusa-bearing species? Aurelia aurita (species 1 complex), the

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So many jelly photos!

My first visit to the National Aquarium was also a behind-the-scenes tour of the jellyfish room with Jennie Janssen (@JellyJanssen). I was completely mesmerized by hundreds of jellies in various industrial-sized aquaria. But I should also note, I am frequently mesmerized by jellies, big and small, be they in an aquarium or under the scope in the lab. And I

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Jellyfish are Good Eatin’!

A couple of weeks ago, New York Times’s science writer Carl Zimmer wrote about a recent review by Hays et al (2018), which asked: how important are jellyfish in marine ecosystems? The answer: important. In fact, probably more important than we have been giving them credit for. Jellyfish (often referring to both cnidarians and ctenophores) have typically been considered trophic

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Stinging Cells from the Summer!

I am busy cranking away at the Smithsonian NMNH, but I wanted to share some photos of one of my favorite complex animal features: the stinging cell! Stinging cells house nematocysts, the stinging cell organelles distinctive to all cnidarians (hence the Latin translation, nettle-bearing animals). Nematocysts are thread-like capsules secreted by stinging cells that are mechanically or chemically discharged through

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