Abstract

Introduction: Embryonic and larval development in sea urchins is highly dependent on maternal nutritional status and on the environmental conditions of the seawater. Objective: To compare the development of Arbacia dufresnii in two different water temperatures and in progeny with varying maternal origins. Methods: We induced A. dufresnii females and males from Nuevo Gulf to spawn, collected the eggs of each female individually (progeny), separated them into two seawater temperatures (12 and 17 °C), and fertilized them. We recorded the percentage of fertilized eggs and embryos per developmental stage according to time, temperature and progeny. We measured larval growth by total length (TL) and midline body length (M) according to time post fecundation (DPF), temperature, and progeny. Results: Temperature did not affect fertilization, but embryo development was faster and more synchronized in the high temperature treatment. The generalized linear models indicate that embryo development depends on a quadruple interaction between the embryonic stage, time (h), seawater temperature and progeny. Larval growth was faster, producing larger larvae at the highest temperature. Larval growth depends on a triple interaction between time (DPF), seawater temperature and progeny. Conclusions: We found a temperature and progeny impact during embryonic and larval development and, in both cases, these factors generate a synergistic effect on developmental timing and larval size. This probably provides a survival advantage as a more rapid speed of development implies a decrease in the time spent in the water column, where the sea urchins are vulnerable to biotic and abiotic stressors.

Keywords: Echinoderm; Echinoidea; parental provisioning; thermal effect; early life stages; larval growth.