Life under climate change scenarios: sea urchins’ cellular mechanisms for reproductive success

Ocean Acidification (OA) represents a major field of research and increased efforts are being made to elucidate its repercussions on biota. Species survival is ensured by successful reproduction, which may be threatened under detrimental environmental conditions, such as OA acting in synergy with other climate change related stressors. Achieving successful gametogenesis, fertilization, and the development of larvae into healthy juveniles and adults is crucial for the perpetuation of species and, thus, ecosystems’ functionality. The considerable vulnerability of the abovementioned developmental stages to the adverse conditions that future OA may impose has been shown in many species, including sea urchins which are commonly used due to the feasibility of their maintenance in captivity and the great amount of gametes that a mature adult is able to produce. In the present review, the latest knowledge about the impact of OA on various stages of the life cycle of sea urchins is summarized with remarks on the possible impact of other stressors. The cellular physiology of the gametes before, at fertilization and, at early development, is extensively described with a focus on the complex enzymatic machinery and the intracellular pH (pHi) and Ca2+ homeostasis for their vulnerability when facing adverse conditions such as acidification, temperature variations, or hypoxia.

Bögner D., 2016. Life under climate change scenarios: sea urchins’ cellular mechanisms for reproductive success. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 4(1):28. Article.

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