Section 11
Chapter 10,735

Halogenated metabolites in two marine polychaetes and their planktotrophic and lecithotrophic larvae

Cowart, J.D.; Fielman, K.T.; Woodin, S.A.; Lincoln, D.E.

Marine Biology (Berlin) 136(6): 993-1002


ISSN/ISBN: 0025-3162
DOI: 10.1007/s002270000271
Accession: 010734603

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This study investigated the occurrence and ontogenetic changes of halogenated secondary metabolites in planktotrophic and lecithotrophic larvae and adults of two common, infaunal polychaetes, Streblospio benedicti (Spionidae) and Capitella sp. I (Capitellidae), with different life-history traits. S. benedicti contains at least 11 chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons (alkyl halides) while Capitella sp. I contains 3 brominated aromatic compounds. These halogenated metabolites are potential defense compounds benefiting both larvae and adults. We hypothesized that: (1) planktotrophic larvae contain halogenated metabolites because they are not protected by adult defenses, (2) quantitative and qualitative variation of planktotrophic larval halogenated metabolites parallels that of adults, and (3) brooded lecithotrophic larvae initiate the production of halogenated metabolites only after metamorphosis. To address these hypotheses, volatile halogenated compounds from polychaete extracts were separated using capillary gas chromatography and identified and quantified using mass spectrometry with selected ion monitoring. All four life stages (pre- and post-release larvae, new recruits, adults) of both S. benedicti and Capitella sp. I contained the halogenated metabolites previously identified from adults. This is the first report of halocompounds identified and quantified in polychaete larvae. Allocation of potential defense compounds to offspring varied as a function of species, feeding type and developmental stage. Pre-release larvae of S. benedicti with planktotrophic development contained the lowest concentration of total halogenated metabolites (1.75 +- 0.65 ng mm-3), post-release and new recruits contained intermediate concentrations (8.29 +- 1.72 and 4.73 +- 2.63 ng mm-3, respectively), and planktotrophic adults contained significantly greater amounts (28.9 +- 9.7 ng mm-3). This pattern of increasing concentrations with increasing stage of development suggests synthesis of metabolites during development. Lecithotrophic S. benedicti post-release larvae contained the greatest concentrations of halometabolites (71.1 +- 10.6 ng mm-3) of all S. benedicti life stages and developmental types examined, while the amount was significantly lower in new recruits (34.0 +- 15.4 ng mm-3). This pattern is consistent with a previously proposed hypothesis suggesting a strategy of reducing potential autotoxicity during developmental transitions. Pre-release lecithotrophic larvae of Capitella sp. I contained the highest concentration of total halogenated metabolites (1150 +- 681 ng mm-3), whereas the adults contained significantly lower total amounts (126 +- 68 ng mm-3). All concentrations of these haloaromatics are above those known to deter predation in previously conducted laboratory and field trials. As a means of conferring higher larval survivorship, lecithotrophic females of both species examined may be expending more energy on chemical defenses than their planktotrophic counterparts by supplying their lecithotrophic embryos with more of these compounds, their precursors, or with energy for their synthesis. This strategy appears common among marine lecithotrophic larval forms.

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