Life cycle, taxonomy and systematic of selected cnidarian taxa
The systematic of many cnidarian taxa is indistinct until today. The description of numerous new species can be expected in all cnidarian taxa (Anthozoa, Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, Cubozoa) from current expeditions in poorly investigated habitats (e.g. deep sea and polar regions) and due to the progress in the development of new taxonomic methods (e.g. molecular genetics).
Many cnidarian species have a complex insufficient investigated life cycle with several asexual and sexual reproduction strategies. In most scyphozoan jellyfish species the large medusae are produced asexually by small and inconspicuous, sessile polyps which are often poorly known (see figure).
Investigations on different life cycle stages of cnidarian species are necessary to describe their full variation range. Therefore laboratory culture of living animals, realized at the DZMB in collaboration with PD Dr. Gerhard Jarms and Dr. Ilka Sötje (both University of Hamburg) is an important method to investigate their life cycles and to determine taxonomic characters of different life stages.