Oecologia

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 50–57 | Cite as

The relationship between food ration and reproductive effort in the green sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis

  • R. J. Thompson
Article

Summary

Gamete production, somatic growth and reproductive effort were measured in sea urchins maintained on a mixture of kelp and mussel flesh at three ration levels. Urchins on low ration were able to maintain an output of gametes half that of urchins fed ad libitum. This was achieved at the expense of somatic production, which was negative in the low ration groups. Despite the reduction in the output of gametes, reproductive effort was greater in the low ration urchins than in the well fed ones. The lipid content and the energy content were greater in eggs released by urchins fed ad libitum than in eggs produced by urchins at low ration.

Several indices of reproductive effort were derived from the data and their advantages and disadvantages evaluated. All showed the same trend towards an increase in reproductive effort as the food supply was depleted. In order to obtain some of these indices, it was necessary to measure oxygen uptake, ammonia excretion, ingestion rate and absorption rate, but a direct partitioning of energy between growth and reproduction was found to be the most ecologically meaningful approach to the problem, and does not require measurement of physiological variates. In situations where growth cannot be measured, however, reproductive effort may be expressed as the production of gametes divided by the energy ingested or absorbed.

A shift in the allocation of resources from growth to reproduction is seen as an appropriate response to a depletion of the food supply in an environment in which the duration of adverse conditions cannot be predicted. Under these circumstances, investment in growth may be unprofitable, yet the urchin may retain the capacity to restore the normal energy balance should conditions improve.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bagenal TB (1969) The relationship beteen food supply and fecundity in brown trout Salmo trutta L. J Fish Biol 1:167–182Google Scholar
  2. Bayne BL (1971) Oxygen consumption by three species of lamellibranch mollusc in declining ambient oxygen tension. Comp Biochem Physiol 40A:955–970Google Scholar
  3. Bayne BL (1973) Physiological changes in Mytilus edulis L. induced by temperature and nutritive stress. J mar biol Ass UK 53:39–58Google Scholar
  4. Bayne BL, Holland DL, Moore MN, Lowe DM, Widdows J (1978) Further studies on the effects of stress in the adult on the eggs of Mytilus edulis. J mar biol Ass UK 58:825–841Google Scholar
  5. Bayne BL, Worrall CM (1980) Growth and production of mussels Mytilus edulis from two populations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 3:317–328Google Scholar
  6. Blaxter JHS (1969) Development: eggs and larvae. In “Fish physiology” [ed. Hoar WS, Randall DJ] v 3, Academic Press, pp. 177–252Google Scholar
  7. Calow P (1978) Life cycles. An evolutionary approach to the physiology of reproduction, development and ageing. Chapman and Hall, 164 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Calow P (1979) The cost of reproduction—a physiological approach. Biol Rev 54:23–40Google Scholar
  9. Calow P (1981) Resource utilization and reproduction. In “Physiological ecology” [ed. Townsend CR, Calow P], Sinauer Associates Inc, pp. 245–270Google Scholar
  10. Calow P, Woollhead AS (1977) The relationship between ration, reproductive effort and age-specific mortality in the evolution of life-history strategies — some observations on freshwater triclads. J Anim Ecol 46:765–781Google Scholar
  11. Conover RJ (1966) Assimilation of organic matter by zooplankton. Limnol Oceanog 11:338–354Google Scholar
  12. Fisher RA (1930) The genetical theory of natural selection. Dover Press (revised 1958)Google Scholar
  13. Fuji A (1962) Studies on the biology of the sea urchin. V. Food consumption of Strongylocentrotus intermedius. Jap J Ecol 12:181–186Google Scholar
  14. Grasshoff K, Johannsen H (1972) A new, sensitive and direct method for the automatic determination of ammonia in seawater. J Cons int Explor Mer 34:516–521Google Scholar
  15. Griffiths CL, King JA (1979) Some relationships between size, food availability and energy balance in the ribbed mussel Aulacomya ater. Mar Biol 51:141–149Google Scholar
  16. Hirshfiedl MF (1980) An experimental analysis of reproductive effort and cost in the Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes. Ecology 61:282–292Google Scholar
  17. Hirshfield MF, Tinkle DW (1975) Natural selection and the evolution of reproductive effort. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 72:2227–2231Google Scholar
  18. Hughes RN, Roberts DJ (1980) Reproductive effort of winkles (Littorina spp.) with contrasted methods of reproduction. Oecologia 47:130–136Google Scholar
  19. McKillup SC, Butler AJ (1979) Modification of egg production and packaging in response to food availability by Nassarius pauperatus. Oecologia 43:221–223Google Scholar
  20. Menge BA (1974) Effect of wave action and competition on brooding and reproductive effort in the seastar, Leptasterias hexactis. Ecology 55:84–93Google Scholar
  21. Miller RJ, Mann KH (1973) Ecological energetics of the seaweed zone in a marine bya on the Atlantic coast of Canada. III. Energy transformations by sea urchins. Mar Biol 18:99–114Google Scholar
  22. Nichols JD, Conley W, Batt B, Tipton AR (1976) Temporally dynamic reproductive strategies and the concept of r- and K-selection. Am Nat 110:995–1005Google Scholar
  23. Spight TM, Emlen J (1976) Clutch sizes of two marine snails with a changing food supply. Ecology 57:1162–1178Google Scholar
  24. Stearns SC (1976) Life-history tactics: a review of the ideas. Q Rev Biol 51:3–47Google Scholar
  25. Thompson RJ (1979) Fecundity and reproductive effort in the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), the sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), and the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) from populations in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. J Fish Res Bd Can 36:955–964Google Scholar
  26. Thompson RJ, Bayne BL (1972) Active metabolism associated with feeding in the mussel Mytilus edulis L. J exp mar Biol Ecol 8:191–212Google Scholar
  27. Thompson RJ, Bayne BL (1974) Some relationships between growth, metabolism and food in the mussel, Mytilus edulis. Mar Biol 27:317–326Google Scholar
  28. Thompson RJ, Ratcliffe NA, Bayne BL (1974) Effects of starvation on structure and function in the digestive gland of the mussel (Mytilus edulis). J mar biol Ass UK 54:699–712Google Scholar
  29. Tinkle DW, Hadley NF (1975) Lizard reproductive effort: caloric estimates and comments on its evolution. Ecology 56:427–434Google Scholar
  30. Turner RL, Lawrence JM (1979) Volume and composition of echinoderm eggs: implications for the use of egg size in life-history models. In “Reproductive ecology of marine invertebrates” [ed. Stancyk SE], University of South Carolina Press, pp. 25–40Google Scholar
  31. Widdows J (1978) Combined effects of body size, food concentration and season on the physiology of Mytilus edulis. J mar biol Ass UK 58:109–124Google Scholar
  32. Widdows J, Bayne BL (1971) Temperature acclimation of Mytilus edulis with reference to its energy budget. J mar biol Ass UK 51:827–843Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Sciences Research LaboratoryMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John'sCanada

Personalised recommendations