The effects of salinity and pH on fertilization, early development and hatching in the Crown-of-Thorns seastar

Allen, Jonathan D., Schrage, Kharis R., Foo, Shawna A., Watson, Sue-Ann, and Byrne, Maria (2017) The effects of salinity and pH on fertilization, early development and hatching in the Crown-of-Thorns seastar. Diversity, 9 (1). 13. pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

Understanding the influence of environmental factors on the development and dispersal of crown-of-thorns seastars is critical to predicting when and where outbreaks of these coral-eating seastars will occur. Outbreaks of crown-of-thorns seastars are hypothesized to be driven by terrestrial runoff events that increase nutrients and the phytoplankton food for the larvae. In addition to increasing larval food supply, terrestrial runoff may also reduce salinity in the waters where seastars develop. We investigated the effects of reduced salinity on the fertilization and early development of seastars. We also tested the interactive effects of reduced salinity and reduced pH on the hatching of crown-of-thorns seastars. Overall, we found that reduced salinity has strong negative effects on fertilization and early development, as shown in other echinoderm species. We also found that reduced salinity delays hatching, but that reduced pH, in isolation or in combination with lower salinity, had no detectable effects on this developmental milestone. Models that assess the positive effects of terrestrial runoff on the development of crown-of-thorns seastars should also consider the strong negative effects of lower salinity on early development including lower levels of fertilization, increased frequency of abnormal development, and delayed time to hatching.

Item ID: 48038
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1424-2818
Keywords: fertilization, embryonic development, salinity, pH, hatching, crown-of-thorns seastar, Acanthaster
Funders: Ian Potter Foundation (IPF), University of Sydney, Yulgilbar Foundation, Reeves Center
Projects and Grants: Reeves Center International Grant, Mary E. Ferguson Research Grant
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 05:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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