Ecological Studies Volume 206, 2009, pp 149-164
Date: 09 May 2009

Fertilization Strategies

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For marine species that live attached to hard substrata, fertilisation of their gametes can present particular problems, from density-dependence in internal fertilizers, to many diverse constraints on the vast majority of species that broadcast gametes to the water column. This chapter reviews the data, the leading hypotheses, and the controversies in this topic, focusing on unresolved issues and future directions. We describe many convergent adaptations to increase fertilisation success in a variety of rocky shore taxa, supporting the assertion that in the still active debate between sperm limitation and sperm competition as leading factors, both sides play essential roles in driving the ecology and evolution of fertilisation in rocky shore species. The balance between these competing selective pressures has shaped the patterns we see today in rocky substratum taxa, and understanding how these evolve presents exciting prospects for future marine fertilisation research.