P3.86 Friday, Jan. 6 A phylogenetic synthesis of medusa development HELM, R.R.*; DUNN, C.W.; Brown University ; Brown University Rebecca_Helm@brown.edu
In complex life cycles, a diversity of asexual developmental mechanisms are necessary to give rise to different life cycles stages. Understanding the evolution of asexual development in complex life cycles is critical to understanding the evolution of complex life cycles themselves. In Medusozoa, a group of cnidarians that includes "true jellyfish", the canonical complex life cycle consists of a sexually produced polyp that asexually produces a medusa (jellyfish), which produce gametes. Medusa development has been studied since the mid-19th century, and recent advances in phylogenetics have resulted in robust evolutionary hypotheses for relationships among a diversity of medusozoans. However, the medusa development literature has yet to be broadly synthesized in a phylogenetic framework. I place previous observations on medusa development into a contemporary phylogenetic context, and discuss the possible evolutionary conservation or convergence of these differences, with possible implications for life cycle evolution.