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Reproductive and nutritional periodicities in populations of the european sea urchin echinus esculentus echinodermata echinoidea from the english channel


Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 65(1): 203-220
Reproductive and nutritional periodicities in populations of the european sea urchin echinus esculentus echinodermata echinoidea from the english channel
Gonadal, alimentary canal and somatic indices, oocyte size-frequencies and relative occurrence of spermatocyte stages are compared over a 3-yr period for populations of the European sea-urchin, E. esculentus, from 2 depths on a sublittoral reef near Plymouth [England, UK], English Channel. The population from the shallow part of the reef, within the kelp zone, shows significantly higher values for all 3 indices compared with that from the deeper, below kelp, population, but oocyte size-frequencies and spermatogenic stages show similar development patterns at each depth. Gonadal indices show more marked cyclical activity in the shallower population, and there is a more marked reciprocity between gonadal and alimentary canal indices over the period studied. Samples from a 50 m site nearby showed results generally intermediate between those of the 2 reef sites, supporting the view that nutritional quality, rather than depth, determines the level of gonadial development. The somatic indices show cyclical patterns which are similar from year-to-year in the shallow and deep populations. The principal production of gametes is from individuals living at shallower depths, and a reservoir of animals in deeper water maintains low reproductive activity. Individuals from these deeper stocks may migrate under certain conditions to shallower waters to replace those dislodged or otherwise lost.

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Accession: 006316189



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