• Temperature and pH were tested on embryo-larval development of sea urchins.
• Larval development test proved to be more sensitive compared to gamete fecundity test.
• Low pH as an isolated factor exhibit significant results on fertilization and embryo-larval development.
• Extreme high temperature associated with low pH affect only sea urchin’s embryo-larval.
• Combination of low pH and high temperature causes damages in sea urchin.
The decrease in the pH of oceans and the increase in their temperature are the two main problems observed in the marine ecosystems due to the increasing emission of CO2 in the atmosphere. Both conditions can affect the ecological processes of reproduction, recruitment and survival of the marine biota. Thus, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of pH decrease and temperature increase of seawater on the fertilization success and embryo-larval development of a species of tropical sea urchin. For this purpose, fertilization success (gametes) and embryo-larval development rate were determined by exposing gametes and embryos to decreasing pH values (8.0 (control), 7.7, and 7.4) and increasing temperatures (26 (control), 28, 30, 34, and 38 °C). These conditions were tested associated with each other (in synergy). The gamete test was sensitive to all investigated scenarios, the fertilization success was significantly reduced in the conditions of increased temperature (28, 30, 34, and 38 °C) associated with the ideal pH (pH 8.0) and the conditions of reduced pH (pH 7.7, and 7.4), remaining unchanged only in the ideal condition (pH 8.0 + 26 °C). However, the embryo test displayed enhanced sensitivity in the scenarios of temperature increase (28, 30, 34, and 38 °C) associated with pH decrease conditions. A significantly reduction of 29%, 23% and 10% was observed in all tested pH values at 38 °C, when compared to the control group (80%, 79.5% and 63%, respectively). Therefore, the present study suggests that the occurrence of both scenarios may have a significant impact, in the coming years, on the population of Echinometra lucunter.
Pereira T. M., Gnocchi K. G., Merçon J., Mendes B., Lopes B. M., Passos S. L., Regina A. & Gomes C., in press. The success of the fertilization and early larval development of the tropical sea urchin Echinometra lucunter (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) is affected by the pH decrease and temperature increase. Marine Environmental Research. Article (subscription required).