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The Influence of Bioactive Oxylipins from Marine Diatoms on Invertebrate Reproduction and Development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gary Caldwell



Diatoms are one of the main primary producers in aquatic ecosystems and occupy a vital link in the transfer of photosynthetically-fixed carbon through aquatic food webs. Diatoms produce an array of biologically-active metabolites, many of which have been attributed as a form of chemical defence and may offer potential as candidate marine drugs. Of considerable interest are molecules belonging to the oxylipin family which are broadly disruptive to reproductive and developmental processes. The range of reproductive impacts includes; oocyte maturation; sperm motility; fertilization; embryogenesis and larval competence. Much of the observed bioactivity may be ascribed to disruption of intracellular calcium signalling, induction of cytoskeletal instability and promotion of apoptotic pathways. From an ecological perspective, the primary interest in diatom-oxylipins is in relation to the potential impact on energy flow in planktonic systems whereby the reproductive success of copepods (the main grazers of diatoms) is compromised. Much data exists providing evidence for and against diatom reproductive effects; however detailed knowledge of the physiological and molecular processes involved remains poor. This paper provides a review of the current state of knowledge of the mechanistic impacts of diatom-oxylipins on marine invertebrate reproduction and development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Caldwell GS

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Drugs

Year: 2009

Volume: 7

Issue: 3

Pages: 367-400

ISSN (print): 1660-3397

ISSN (electronic):



DOI: 10.3390/md7030367