Category Archives: Cnidaria

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Lives of Jellies at the Mall!

In the 95F heat, jetlagged, and arriving in DC less than 24 hours prior, I cannot describe how happy I was to do a little jellyfish outreach with the interns and researchers of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Invertebrate Biology Aquaroom at the Annual Smithsonian Staff Picnic! Along with Dr. Allen Collins, Dr. Cheryl Ames, and interns Christine,

Read more
« Older Entries