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Fertilization success in marine invertebrates: The influence of gamete age

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Matt Bentley


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Gamete age has been postulated to be unimportant to the fertilization ecology of marine invertebrates. However, recent research suggests that, for some species at least. it may have a direct impact upon fertilization success. We present comparative data on the influence of gamete age on fertilization and development success in several marine invertebrates: the polychaetes Arenicola marina and Nereis virens and the asteroid echinoderm. Asterias rubens. Oocytes are much longer lived in the polychaetes than in the echinoderm. with A. marina oocytes still capable of fertilizing and developing normally 96 h post-spawning. Developmental abnormalities and failure to reach blastula tend to occur well before the fertilizable life of the oocytes has expired. Sperm are similarly longer lived in the polychaetes; however. fertilizing capacity is markedly reduced following incubation in conspecific egg-conditioned seawater. These results axe discussed in terms of the fertilization strategies of the three species. We further suggest that, for A. marina at least. longer-lived sperm and eggs are central to the fertilization strategy of this species.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Williams ME, Bentley MG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biological Bulletin

Year: 2002

Volume: 202

Issue: 1

Pages: 34-42

ISSN (print): 0006-3185

ISSN (electronic): 1939-8697

Publisher: Marine Biological Laboratory


DOI: 10.2307/1543220


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