Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1245–1252 | Cite as

Variation among females in egg lipid content and developmental success of echinoderms from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

  • Michael Moore
  • Donal T. Manahan
Original Paper


Egg lipid and protein content of different females of Antarctic echinoderms in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, were measured to assess variation among females and developmental success. Egg triacylglycerol content of the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, when less than 70 ng, correlated with embryos that failed to develop past the 4-day-old blastula stage. In contrast asteroids (Odontaster meridionalis, O. validus, Acodontaster hodgsoni) all produced eggs that developed normally, even with variable egg lipid content. This difference might be related to dietary sources for more herbivorous sea urchins compared to more omnivorous and predatory asteroids. Low egg lipid content, with resulting poor embryonic survivorship, suggests that herbivorous sea urchins may be under unusual levels of nutritional stress in McMurdo Sound during the time frame studied (2004–2005). This nutritional stress might be related to the presence of large icebergs, known to have reduced primary production in the Ross Sea area.


Antarctica Echinoderms Eggs Lipids 



We are very grateful to David Ginsburg for his assistance with collecting (SCUBA) animals from McMurdo Sound. We also thank Dr. Douglas Pace and Allison Green for assistance with larval culture at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The staff and field-support operations of Raytheon Polar Services Company are gratefully acknowledged. This work was supported by the United States’ National Science Foundation under Grant Number OPP-0130398.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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