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Exposure temperature affects ovarian development in the regular sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus.

Lytechinus variegatus (ca. 40mm diameter) were collected (n=88) in October 2001 from Saint Joseph Bay, Florida, and returned to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The sea urchins were divided into nine 80-L aquaria maintained in enclosed incubators (three aquaria per incubator) at a specific constant temperature of 16[degrees]C, or 28[degrees]C. Individuals were held in 1-liter containers placed inside the aquaria with recirculating 100% artificial seawater at 32 ppt salinity and were fed ad libitum a prepared pellet diet daily for 8 weeks. At the end of 8 weeks, female sea urchins held at 22[degrees]C showed the highest overall somatic growth and highest growth of ovarian tissues. The number of eggs found in each ovarian tubule (acinus), the number of mature egg number per acinus, and egg size were highest for females at this temperature, indicating increased fecundity and gametogenic maturity. Soluble protein levels were highest in the ovaries at this temperature. Females from the 16[degrees]C treatment did not exhibit gametogenic stimulation; however, nutrient storage in the surrounding follicle-like tissues (nutritive phagocytes) was enhanced by exposure to the low temperature. Females held at 28[degrees]C did not show substantial gametogenic stimulation or high nutrient storage capabilities, possibly because of an increased metabolic rate at the high temperature. These data indicate that nutrient allocation to reproduction is affected by culture temperature and may be related to temperature-dependent hormonal control mechanisms and/or changes in basal metabolic rates (energy allocation) at various temperatures.

Victoria K. Gibbs and Stephen A. Watts, Dept. of Biology, Univ. of Ala. at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294.
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Title Annotation:Biological Sciences
Author:Gibbs, Victoria K.; Watts, Stephen A.
Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:270
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