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Seasonal variation in the effects of food availability on gametogenesis in the purple urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)
Dodge, C.A.; Edwards, M.S. (2012). Seasonal variation in the effects of food availability on gametogenesis in the purple urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(2): 427-433.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Dodge, C.A.
  • Edwards, M.S.

    The amount of food and when it is available affect both the timing of reproduction and the number of gametes produced by purple sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. To investigate this further, the effects of food availability on feeding rates, gonad growth, and gamete development were examined in S. purpuratus collected from the Point Loma kelp forest near San Diego, California, USA (32.69° N, 117.26° W) in September (Fall) 2007, and February (Spring) and July (Summer) 2008, using laboratory mesocosms. Each seasonal laboratory feeding experiment lasted 3 months, and different levels of food availability were established with different feeding frequencies (from 1 to 7 days week-1). Gonad tissues of male and female urchins were staged at the end of each experiment using histological analyses. Reduced food availability resulted in increased daily consumption rates, especially in the Fall when gamete development began. Food limitation at this time resulted in failure to produce viable gametes, suggesting there is a critical period early in gonad development when food limitation affects reproductive competency. Food limitation later in gonad development did not stop viable gamete production, although it did reduce gamete output.

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