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Effects of single and mixed-diatom diets on growth, condition, and survival of larvae of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck, 1816)


The development of rearing protocols promoting the larval development, pre and post-metamorphosis are key for echinoculture. Mixed diets combining diatom with other microalgae have been used with success and Rhodomonas sp. (Rho)-based diets showed promising results in larval survival. This study was aimed to evaluate the rearing success of Paracentrotus lividus larvae fed with mixed diets combining Rho with two diatoms, Phaedactylum tricornutum (Phae) and Chaetoceros calcitrans (Chae) in two experiments. In experiment I, the effect of the mixed diet of Rho and Phae (Mix I) was compared with monospecific diets of both species, while in experiment II, Rho was combined with Chae (Mix II) and compared with both monospecific diets. In experiment I, larvae fed with Rho I and Mix I diets grew faster than larvae fed with Phae I diet, attained the competence earlier with survival rates of 15-16%. In experiment II, the larvae fed with Rho were larger and the larvae fed with Mix II attained the highest survival rate (32.22%). The analysis of the larval biometric models showed that the larger larvae, with bigger stomachs, and shorter post-oral arm attained the age-at-competence earlier with higher survival rates. In conclusion, the larvae fed with a combination of Rho with the selected diatoms showed identical growth performance and condition to larvae fed with Rho monospecific diet but obtained higher survival rate. These results indicate that mixed-diatoms diets may be more suitable for P. lividus larval rearing.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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No code was developed in the present study.


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The authors wish to thank the valuable comments made by the two anonymous reviewers that greatly improve the content of this study. This study had the financial support of Operational Programme MAR2020 through the project 16-02-01-FMP-0004: Ouriceira Aqua: Aquaculture and Enhancement of Gonad Production in the Sea Urchin (Paracentrotus lividus), and the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), through the strategic project UIDB/ 04292/2020 granted to MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre.


This study had the financial support of Operational Programme MAR2020 through the project 16-02-01-FMP-0004: Ouriceira Aqua: Aquaculture and Enhancement of Gonad Production in the Sea Urchin (Paracentrotus lividus), and the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), through the strategic project UIDB/ 04292/2020 granted to MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre.

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All authors significantly contributed to the content of this manuscript and the work that supported it. AG contributed with the conception, trials conduction and data analysis, manuscript drafting and preparation for submission. SL contributed with the conception, data analysis, manuscript drafting and critically reviewed the manuscript. PMS contributed with trials conduction and critically reviewed the manuscript. AR contributed with trials conduction and critically reviewed the manuscript. SM contributed with data analysis and critically reviewed the manuscript. SCG critically reviewed the manuscript. SMFF critically reviewed the manuscript. AP contributed with the conception, critically reviewed the manuscript and preparation for submission.

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Correspondence to Ana Gomes.

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Gomes, A., Lourenço, S., Santos, P.M. et al. Effects of single and mixed-diatom diets on growth, condition, and survival of larvae of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck, 1816). Aquacult Int 29, 1069–1090 (2021).

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  • Echinoculture
  • Larviculture
  • Microalgae
  • Mixed diets
  • Larval condition