Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New ’bumpy’ jelly found in deep sea

04.02.2004


Stellamedusa ventana photographed during the MBARI 2003 expedition to the Gulf of California.
Image credit: (c) 2003 MBARI


This laboratory photo shows the bumps that give Stellamedusa ventana its common name, "Bumpy." Each bump contains hundreds of stinging cells, which are used for capturing and holding onto prey.
Image credit: Kevin Raskoff (c) 2003 MBARI


Wart-like bumps of stinging cells cover the feeding arms and bell of a newly described deep-sea jelly, published by MBARI biologists in this month’s issue of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. This softball-sized, translucent jelly moves through the water like a shooting star, trailing four fleshy oral arms--but no tentacles--behind it. This and other unique features resulted in the jelly’s categorization as a new genus and species.

The MBARI researchers named the jelly Stellamedusa ventana. Its genus, Stellamedusa, refers to the jelly’s translucent blue-white color and trailing arms, which reminded the scientists of a slow-moving meteor or shooting star. It’s species name, ventana, refers to MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Ventana, a deep-diving submarine robot that first recorded the jelly on video in 1990. Before they created an official name for this animal, researchers gave this jelly the nickname "bumpy" because it’s bell and oral arms are covered with small bumps, which are actually clusters of stinging cells that the jelly uses to capture prey.

Kevin Raskoff, primary author of the paper, says of the new jelly "Although it’s highly unusual for a jelly not to have tentacles, several deep-sea species have evolved this way. They have also evolved unusual feeding strategies, which rely on other parts of their body, such as the bell and oral arms, to capture prey." Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at MBARI, Raskoff now teaches at California State University, Monterey Bay.



MBARI researchers have seen S. ventana only seven times during thirteen years of diving. Five of these observations were in Monterey Bay. The other two occurred during an MBARI expedition to the Gulf of California in spring 2003. According to George Matsumoto, co-author of the paper, "This animal still represents a conundrum. At first we thought it might be just a very rare local species, here in Monterey Bay. Then we saw it twice in the Gulf of California, three thousand miles away. We still have no idea of its true range."

The researchers waited years to publish their discovery of this jelly because they wanted to be able to present information about its habits and distribution, as well as its appearance. As Matsumoto put it, "you need enough observations to understand the natural variations in the animal’s size and shape. We just didn’t have enough information to make any general statements about the animal."

Here is some of what they do know: S. ventana has been observed at depths between 150 and 550 meters (about 500 to 1800 feet), just below the level that sunlight can penetrate, but above a layer of very low oxygen levels. This region is known as the mesopelagic realm, and is the home of entire communities of gelatinous animals. In fact, based on field and lab observations, the researchers believe that this jelly may feed primarily on other jellies.

To study the jelly’s eating habits, the researchers placed a captured jelly in a tank with small shrimp and pieces of squid. The shrimp and squid collided with batteries of stinging cells on the jelly’s bell and stuck there. The prey then moved slowly down to the edge if the bell. At that point, the jelly transferred the prey to one of its oral arms, where it slowly moved up the arm and into the mouth.

Unlike other jellies who capture food with their bells, S. ventana seemed to prefer prey larger than about 2 cm (3/4 inch). In fact, one individual captured in the Gulf of California had in its gut a ctenophore about 5 cm (2 inches) across. Raskoff speculates that the bumps on the jelly’s bell and arms may aid in capturing large pray. "These bumps contain massive batteries of stinging cells, which are good for holding on to prey as well as immobilizing it."

Matsumoto is somewhat surprised that S. ventana has never been described previously or hauled up in nets. "The coast of California is one of the more well-studied parts of the world’s oceans, with two major oceanographic institutions dating from the late 1800s. Yet we are still discovering new species there. Who knows what else we might find?" Raskoff adds, "It’s heartwarming to know that there’s still a lot of mystery in the deep ocean. There are still a lot of big things moving around out there that we don’t know about."

Kim Fulton-Bennett | MBARI
Further information:
http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2004/stellamedusa.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>