Some implications of molecular phylogenetics for understanding biodiversity in jellyfishes, with emphasis on Scyphozoa

  • M. N. Dawson
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 178)

Statistical phylogenetic analyses of 111 5.8S and partial-28S ribosomal DNA sequences (total aligned length=434 nucleotides) including jellyfishes representing approximately 14% of known scyphozoan morphospecies (21% genera, 62% families, and 100% orders) are presented. These analyses indicate stauromedusae constitute a fifth cnidarian class (Staurozoa) basal to a monophyletic Medusozoa (=Cubozoa, Hydrozoa, and Scyphozoa). Phylogenetic relationships among the medusozoans are generally poorly resolved, but support is found for reciprocal monophyly of the Cubozoa, Hydrozoa, Coronatae, and Discomedusae (=Semaeostomeae + Rhizostomeae). In addition, a survey of pairwise sequence differences in Internal Transcribed Spacer One within morphospecies indicates that scyphozoan species diversity may be approximately twice recent estimates based on morphological analyses. These results highlight difficulties with traditional morphological treatments including terminology that obfuscates homologies. By integrating molecular phylogenetic analyses with old and new morphological, behavioural, developmental, physiological, and other data, a much richer understanding of the biodiversity and evolution of jellyfishes is achievable.

Key words: conservation, Cubozoa, evolution and development, Hydrozoa, morphology, cryptic species


Internal Transcribe Space Marine Biology Cryptic Species Gastric Pouch Ballast Water 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. N. Dawson
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Marine and Coastal StudiesUniversity of New South WalesAustralia

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