Sea urchin reproductive performance in a changing ocean: poor males improve while good males worsen in response to ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to be a major driver of ocean biodiversity change. At projected rates of change, sensitive marine taxa may not have time to adapt. Their persistence may depend on pre-existing inter-individual variability. We investigated individual male reproductive performance under present-day and OA conditions using two representative broadcast spawners, the sea urchins Lytechinus pictus and Heliocidaris erythrogramma. Under the non-competitive individual ejaculate scenario, we examined sperm functional parameters (e.g. swimming speed, motility) and their relationship with fertilization success under current and near-future OA conditions. Significant inter-individual differences in almost every parameter measured were identified. Importantly, we observed strong inverse relationships between individual fertilization success rate under current conditions and change in fertilization success under OA. Individuals with a high fertilization success under current conditions had reduced fertilization under OA, while individuals with a low fertilization success under current conditions improved. Change in fertilization success ranged from −67% to +114% across individuals. Our results demonstrate that while average population fertilization rates remain similar under OA and present-day conditions, the contribution by different males to the population significantly shifts, with implications for how selection will operate in a future ocean.

Smith K. E., Byrne M., Deaker D., Hird C. M., Nielson C., Wilson-McNeal A. & Lewis C., 2019. Sea urchin reproductive performance in a changing ocean: poor males improve while good males worsen in response to ocean acidification. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286 (1907). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0785. Article.

0 Responses to “Sea urchin reproductive performance in a changing ocean: poor males improve while good males worsen in response to ocean acidification”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,291,091 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book