Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 51–57 | Cite as

UV induces reactive oxygen species, damages sperm, and impairs fertilisation in the sea urchin Anthocidaris crassispina

  • X. Y. Lu
  • R. S. S. WuEmail author
Research Article


We demonstrated that environmentally relevant levels of UVA and UVB can reduce sperm motility (UVA: by 38–58%; UVB: by 42–85%; P < 0.05) and subsequently fertilisation success (UVA: by 38–72%; UVB: by 91–98%; P < 0.05) of urchins (Anthocidaris crassispina) in a dose-dependent manner, implicating that recruitment of urchin populations might be reduced by UVR (ultraviolet radiation) prevailing in their natural habitats. Concomitantly, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was enhanced by UVA and UVB in a dose-dependent manner (UVA: by 1.3-fold; UVB: by 6.6–7.3-fold; P < 0.05), and the increase in ROS resulted in an increase in lipid peroxidation (LPO) in urchin sperm (UVA: by 4.2–7.2-fold; UVB: by 2.3–2.7-fold; P < 0.05). This study demonstrated that ROS production and oxidative damages enhanced by UVR may account for the observed declines in sperm motility and fertilisation, and suggests that levels of UVR prevailing in the environment may pose a significant threat to the reproductive success of natural populations of urchins spawning in shallow waters.


Reactive Oxygen Species Production Sperm Motility Dissolve Organic Matter Fertilisation Success Sperm Quality 
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.



This research was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (9040655 CityU 1091/01 M). We thank Dr. Put Ang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong for collecting urchins for this experiment. The experiments conducted in this study comply with the current laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Coastal Pollution and ConservationCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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