Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

John Gaynor

Committee Member

Paul Bologna

Committee Member

Lee Lee


The sea nettle, Chrysaora quinquecirrha, has become abundant in estuaries of Mid- Atlantic States and frequently blooms in warm summer months. Various factors have been attributed to the increasing localized appearance of sea nettles and other jellyfish including eutrophication, overfishing, global warming, construction and species introduction. Despite its abundance and frequent distribution within estuarine systems, very little work has been done to detect and quantify the early life history stages of this organism. Larval stages of C. quinquecirrha can now be detected and quantified using a qPCR assay specific for the 16S rDNA locus of the mtDNA of C. quinquecirrha. This assay is species specific, linear over a 9-log range, and can detect as few as 60 copies of 16S rDNA. 20-liter field samples were filtered through 500pM and lOOpM mesh to separate ephyrae from planula larvae and gametes, respectively. Quantifiable levels of C. quinquecirrha 16S rDNA were detected at all eight paired locations in Bamegat Bay, with levels varying on both spatial and temporal scales. The use of quantitative molecular data on the distribution of early stage C. quinquecirrha to predict and model blooms of sea nettle medusa in Barnegat Bay will be discussed.

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