First in the list of 18 chapters all dedicated to cnidarians, which include corals, hydras, jellyfish, Portuguese men-of-war, sea anemones, sea pens, sea whips, and sea fans, the chapter by the CBRG-UM authors, focuses on the molecular identification of the cnidarian species in Maltese waters.
Marine cnidaria are venomous due to the possession of nematocysts that store venom which is quickly released while stinging a prey or an attacker. This characteristic makes this group of species particularly interesting to study due to the need to find best medication but also for the applications of each of the venoms produced.
Being able to be at the fore of accurately identifying species using different genetic loci including cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI) and 16SrRNA (16S) from mitochondrial genes and the nuclear gene, 28S rRNA (28S) is a useful advancement toward biodiversity assessment and monitoring.
While the lead author Prof. Adriana Vella has been leading jellyfish research and jellyfish bloom monitoring through the Mediterranean-wide CIESM initiative for many years, together with her co-authors Dr Noel Vella and Mr Ian Falzon, new scientific discoveries were made possible.
Maltese entities that have kindly contributed to supporting this other long-term research effort on local marine biodiversity and jellyfish bloom monitoring included the AFM, Transport Malta, sea users, scuba divers, artisanal fishermen and the NGO BICREF.
The book entitled “The Cnidaria: Only a Problem or also a Resource” presence the large variety of cnidarian species around the world as being both cause for concern, where species blooms in large numbers, but also as potential contributors to new bio and blue technologies. This book does not only contribute new knowledge for cnidarian researchers but is also of interest to many including toxicologists, ecotoxicologists, first-aid physicians, food scientists, aquaculturists and educators.
Links to further information on the chapter and book are the following:
- Molecular Identification of Cnidarians in Maltese Waters, Central Mediterranean
- The Cnidaria: Only a Problem or Also a Resource?
For further information on this or any other biodiversity research contact Prof. Adriana Vella.