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Filling the gaps in the systematics of Aurelia (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa): an integration of morphological data to known molecular species

Grant number: 17/07317-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): October 02, 2017
Effective date (End): January 16, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:André Carrara Morandini
Grantee:Jonathan Wanderley Lawley
Supervisor abroad: Allen Gilbert Collins
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:16/12163-0 - The identity of Aurelia jellyfish (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa) From the Brazilian coast and discussions on the systematics and taxonomy of the genus, BP.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 at least another eleven 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 continue the effort of elucidating diversity within the genus. In order to accomplish this, we will analyze the morphology of preserved specimens from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Collection, USA. This will be an important step towards understanding speciation within the Medusozoan clade, as well as vital for the accurate determination of species present in the Brazilian coast. (AU)