Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 423–438 | Cite as

Pluri-annual study of the reproduction of two Mediterranean Oscarella species (Porifera, Homoscleromorpha): cycle, sex-ratio, reproductive effort and phenology

  • Alexander V. Ereskovsky
  • Maude Dubois
  • Julijana Ivanišević
  • Eve Gazave
  • Pascal Lapebie
  • Daria Tokina
  • Thierry Pérez
Original Paper


This study presents the phenology of two common Mediterranean sponges belonging to the genus Oscarella (Porifera, Homoscleromorpha). Oscarella tuberculata and Oscarella lobularis are two sibling species, dwellers of shallow benthic communities which tend to have distinct ecological behavior, respectively, euryecious and rather stenoecious. The comparative study of their reproductive cycle showed that both Oscarella species have a seasonal reproductive cycle with a successive phase duration differing from one species to another. In both species, there is a continuous oogenesis, with new oocytes appearing in spring, whereas the spermatogenesis generally starts later with the early warming of the sea. The embryonic development and the larval release are restricted to the warmest months of the year. We also observed a shift in the period of gametogenesis and larval emission depending on species and differences in their sensitivity to changes in thermal regime. It appears that an increase in seawater temperature can affect sex determination, with mainly a shift toward males in both species. Their reproductive efforts are variable in time, and can be in some cases influenced by the temperature regime. This is especially the case of O. lobularis which seems to be the most thermosensitive, its phenology responding significantly to changes in thermal regime, whereas O. tuberculata seems to be less sensitive and/or reactive. By detecting phenological changes among sponges, this study demonstrated the relevance of such monitoring to assess the possible biological response to climate change.


Sponge Reproductive Cycle Reproductive Effort Seawater Temperature Reproductive Season 
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.



The authors are grateful to Roland Graille, Dr. Pierre Chevaldonné and Frederic Zuberer for diving assistance; to Dr. Jean-Claude Romano, Dr. Nathaniel Bensoussan and the program MEDCHANGE for the temperature data, and to Chantal Bezac for technical support. This work was partly supported by the European Marie Curie Mobility program (fellowship of T. Pérez, MEIF-CT-2003-501339, and fellowship of A. Ereskovsky, MIF1-CT-2006-040065-980066) and the ECIMAR program of the French National Agency for Research (ANR-06-BDIV-001).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander V. Ereskovsky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maude Dubois
    • 1
  • Julijana Ivanišević
    • 1
  • Eve Gazave
    • 1
    • 3
  • Pascal Lapebie
    • 1
    • 4
  • Daria Tokina
    • 5
  • Thierry Pérez
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale, CNRS UMR 7263Aix-Marseille UniversitéMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of Biology, Department of EmbryologyUniversity of St-Petersburg, Universitetskaya nabSaint PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Institut Jacques MonodUniversité Paris DiderotParisFrance
  4. 4.UMR 7009, Observatoire océanologique, chemin du LazaretVillefranche-sur-MerFrance
  5. 5.Zoological Institute Russian Academy of SciencesUniversitetskaya nabSaint PetersburgRussia

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