Skip to content

The reproductive cycle of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula in northwest Mediterranean: potential influence of temperature and photoperiod

August 24, 2013

We studied the reproductive cycle of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula in a subtidal population from northeast Spain over four years using a gonadosomatic index (GSI) and gonad histology. Our results show that the GSI of A. lixula follows a seasonal cycle which peaks in May–July and attains its lowest values in October–November every year. The time course of the GSI matched closely the photoperiod cycle. We also found a remarkable inter-annual variability in the maximum value of GSI, which correlated with mean water temperature during the gonad growth period (winter and spring). Gonad histology was also in agreement with a single gametogenic cycle per year in this species. We explored the application of circular statistics to present and analyse gonadal development data, which allowed us to adequately handle the high intra-individual variability detected, with several developmental stages commonly found within the same gonad. The picture that emerged is one of a gametogenic timing driven by photoperiod, while the amount of reproductive output is determined by temperature. This is coherent with the tropical origin of the species and lends support to recent warnings about an increase in the abundance of this species in the Mediterranean as a result of global warming, with associated increased impact potential in sublittoral communities.

Wangensteen O S, Turon X, Casso M, Palacín C, in press. The reproductive cycle of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula in northwest Mediterranean: potential influence of temperature and photoperiod, Marine Biology, 2013, doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2303-8. Article (subscription required).

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: