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Marine Biology

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 59–68 | Cite as

Chemical induction of larval settlement and metamorphosis in the reef-building tube worm Phragmatopoma californica (Sabellariidae: Polychaeta)

  • J. R. Pawlik
Article

Abstract

Naturally-occurring lipophilic inducers of larval settlement and metamorphosis wer isolated and identified for Phragmatopoma californica, a gregarious tube worm from southern California. Organic solvent extraction of the sand/organic cement matrix of tubes diminished the inducing capacity of the tube matrix. The inducing capacity was restricted to a single, highly active, HPLC-purified fraction of the organic solvent extract. Chemical analysis of this fraction revealed a mixture of free fatty acids (FFAs), dominated by eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5, ∼20%), palmitic acid (16:0, ∼14%) and palmitoleic acid (16:1, ∼12%). In assays of the nine FFAs that each contributed 3% or more to the active fraction, only 16:1, 18:2, 20:4 and 20:5 induced larval settlement and metamorphosis, while the others were ineffective. The larval response was contact-dependent, highly specific, and concentration-dependent, with a significant response to 16:1 and 20:4 at as low as 10 μg FFA spread onto 1 g of sand (surface area ⋟36 cm2). Active FFAs were extracted at approximately 14 μg g-1 sand from the tube matrix, although the levels encountered by larvae in nature are believed to be higher.

Keywords

Chemical Analysis Free Fatty Acid Solvent Extract Palmitic Acid Significant Response 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Pawlik
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

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