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Can diatom blooms act as a selective pressure forcing seasonally reproducing invertebrates to spawn in suboptimal conditions?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gary Caldwell, Dr Ceri Lewis, Emeritus Professor Peter Olive


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Diatoms have traditionally been regarded as an essential component in the flow of energy through aquatic food webs. Recent studies focusing on planktonic secondary production based on diatom productivity have challenged this view. It is now known that anti-mitotic compounds synthesised by diatoms inhibit embryogenesis and hatching in copepods, sea urchins, tunicates and polychaetes. Many invertebrate species reproduce on a highly synchronised seasonal basis, often shedding their gametes directly into the water column or onto the seabed (broadcast spawning). Here we explore the possible selective advantage to broadcast spawning marine invertebrates of breeding in times of low diatom production, despite the fact that their gametes and larvae are released into temperature conditions that are sub-optimal for fertilisation and development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lewis C; Olive PJW; Caldwell GS

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Phytoplankton Productivity

Year of Conference: 2002

Notes: Oral presentation.