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Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 8, pp 1659–1671 | Cite as

Gametogenic and reproductive cycles of the sea anemone, Entacmaea quadricolor

  • Anna Scott
  • Peter Lynton Harrison
Original Paper

Abstract

Host sea anemones are ecologically important as they provide habitat for obligate symbiotic anemonefish in many areas of the Indo-Pacific. Despite their importance, no information is available on their gametogenic cycles. This study aimed to address this lack of knowledge by determining the gametogenic cycles of Entacmaea quadricolor. Gonad samples were taken from January 2003 to February 2005 at North Solitary Island, Solitary Islands Marine Park, Australia using a specially developed non-lethal field biopsy sampling technique. Sampling was done 17 times during the study period, with 15–20 individuals being sampled on each occasion. Samples were examined prior to fixation, and then histologically sectioned to determine the reproductive activity of each individual. Female anemones were significantly more abundant than males, and had asynchronous oocyte development both within and among individuals. Male anemones showed a single annual cycle of spermary growth, development and spawning. Data from the 26-month study indicated that spawning occurred in the austral summer and autumn between January and April, which coincided with the observed spawning periods that have previously been documented for this species in outdoor flow-through seawater tanks at the study location. The biopsy sampling technique used during this study provides an opportunity to gain a more thorough understanding of the gametogenic cycles and sexual pattern of host sea anemones throughout their distribution.

Keywords

Germinal Vesicle Colour Morph Oocyte Development Gametogenic Cycle Gastrovascular Cavity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to T. Baillie and T. Jones from the Coffs Harbour Base Hospital Pathology Unit who contributed a significant amount of time and expertise during the preparation of the histological sections for this study. We are grateful to everyone who volunteered their time during field work, especially C. Damiano, A. Carroll, J. Rowland and R. Forbes. This paper forms part of a PhD dissertation submitted by A. Scott to Southern Cross University, Lismore. This research was supported by grants from the Australian Geographic Society, Project AWARE Asia Pacific, NSW Marine Parks Authority and SCU Postgraduate grants. Research was conducted in accordance with the conditions specified by NSW Fisheries Permit P02/0025 and complied with the current laws of Australia.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Marine Science CentreCoffs Harbour JettyAustralia
  2. 2.Coral Reef Research Centre, School of Environmental Science and ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

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