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Effect of sunlight intensity and albinism on the covering response of the Caribbean sea urchin Tripneustes ventricosus
Kehas, A.J.; Theoharides, K.A.; Gilbert, J.J. (2005). Effect of sunlight intensity and albinism on the covering response of the Caribbean sea urchin Tripneustes ventricosus. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 146(6): 1111-1117. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-004-1514-4
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Kehas, A.J.
  • Theoharides, K.A.
  • Gilbert, J.J.

Abstract
    At Discovery Bay, Jamaica, Tripneustes ventricosus lives in beds of the turtle grass Thalassia testudinum. Especially during daylight hours, it covers its aboral surface with fragments of this plant and other objects. Normally pigmented, wild-type sea urchins covered themselves significantly less with Thalassia when sunlight was experimentally decreased to 66% or 32% ambient intensity. Consistent with this result, naturally occurring sea urchins exhibited significantly less covering at a deep (3.5 m) site than at a shallow (1 m) site, where light intensities at the bottom were 619 and 946 µmol s-1 m-2, respectively. The graded covering response to light intensity suggests that covering is a defense against damaging solar radiation. Albino sea urchins covered themselves significantly more with Thalassia than wild-type sea urchins in both full and 66% sunlight. In addition, at the shallow site where they accounted for about 4% of the population, they showed significantly greater covering than wild-type urchins. The greater covering response of albino sea urchins suggests a greater susceptibility to solar radiation.

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