Haliclystus_antarcticus_1C

Staurozoa images courtesy of Allen Collins.

Staurozoa or stalked jellyfish are benthic, solitary animals that typically live in shallow waters (although deep water species have been described). Staurozoa were originally thought to be part of the cnidarian class Scyphozoa, but fairly recently were elevated to their own class thought to be the sister group to Medusozoa (i.e. Scyphozoa, Cubozoa, and Hydrozoa) or sister group of the Cubozoa. Given the morphology (essentially an attached jellyfish) and phylogenetic position, these animals are key to understanding the evolution of the medusoid life history stage, as well as vital to a global view of cnidarian evolution. In collaboration with Allen Collins at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, we are sequencing genomes from several staurozoans to understand the genomic basis of the transition to this additional life history stage.

Nemopsis

Hydrozoan Nemopsis from Matanzas River, St Augustine, FL