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The identity of Aurelia jellyfish (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa) from the Brazilian coast and discussions on the systematics and taxonomy of the genus

Grant number: 16/12163-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2016
Effective date (End): August 15, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:André Carrara Morandini
Grantee:Jonathan Wanderley Lawley
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):17/07317-0 - Filling the gaps in the systematics of Aurelia (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa): an integration of morphological data to known molecular species, BE.EP.MS


Despite the recent increase in research efforts regarding jellyfish and associated blooming events, which have important economic and health impacts, much of the evolutionary relationships among Medusozoa are still unclear. In this sense, much debate exists concerning the number of species within the genus Aurelia (moon jellyfish), dating back to the 1800s and still unresolved. Through time, many of the species described were synonymized and only A. aurita, A. limbata and A. labiata were considered valid, although recent molecular efforts have proposed additional four to six species. This emphasizes the crypticism of speciation within the genus, and therefore the need of more detailed morphological, genetic and geographical evaluation of presumed species. In this study, we propose to describe in detail the suggested molecular species of the Brazilian coast, Aurelia sp. In order to accomplish this we will analyse the morphology of living animals in different life cycle stages (polyps, ephyrae and young medusae) and of preserved specimens from museum collections, as well as genetic data from specimens of distinct localities along the coast. A discussion of the genus will also be necessary in order to characterize the identity of the species from the Brazilian coast. This will be an important step towards understanding speciation within the Medusozoan clade, and therefore better comprehending its biodiversity. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
LAWLEY, JONATHAN W.; GAMERO-MORA, EDGAR; MARONNA, MAXIMILIANO M.; CHIAVERANO, LUCIANO M.; STAMPAR, SERGIO N.; HOPCROFT, RUSSELL R.; COLLINS, ALLEN G.; MORANDINI, ANDRE C.. The importance of molecular characters when morphological variability hinders diagnosability: systematics of the moon jellyfish genus Aurelia (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa). PeerJ, v. 9, . (19/03552-0, 17/07317-0, 16/04560-9, 16/12163-0, 15/21007-9)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
LAWLEY, Jonathan Wanderley. Delimitation and description of cryptic species: lessons from the systematics of Aurelia (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa). 2018. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB) São Paulo.

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