|Egg longevity and time-integrated fertilization in a temperate sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)|
Meidel, S.K.; Yund, Ph.O. (2001). Egg longevity and time-integrated fertilization in a temperate sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis). Biol. Bull. 201: 84-94
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster, Pa. etc.. ISSN 0006-3185, more
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Recent field experiments have suggested that fertilization levels in sea urchins (and other broadcast spawners that release their gametes into the water column) may often be far below 100%. However, past experiments have not considered the potentially positive combined effects of an extended period of egg longevity and the release of gametes in viscous fluids (which reduces dilution rates). In a laboratory experiment, we found that eggs of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis had high viability for 2 to 3 d. Fertilization levels of eggs held in sperm-permeable egg baskets in the field and exposed to sperm slowly diffusing off a spawning male increased significantly with exposure from 15 min to 3 h. In a field survey of time-integrated fertilizations (over 24, 48, and 72 h) during natural sperm release events, eggs held in baskets accrued fertilizations over as much as 48 h and attained fairly high fertilization levels. Our results suggest that an extended period of egg longevity and the release of gametes in viscous fluids may result in higher natural fertilization levels than currently expected from short-term field experiments.