Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 59–71 | Cite as

Reproductive biology and biochemical composition of the brooding echinoid Amphipneustes lorioli on the Antarctic continental shelf

  • Elizabeth A. GalleyEmail author
  • Paul A. Tyler
  • Andrew Clarke
  • Craig R. Smith
Research Article


The bathyal West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) shelf experiences intense seasonal variability in primary production, with summer phytoplankton blooms yielding intense pulse of phytodetritus to shelf sediments. Echinoderms form a conspicuous proportion of the deposit-feeding megabenthos on the shelf and of these Amphipneustes lorioli was the most abundant irregular echinoid. To explore the reproductive response of A. lorioli to this seasonal production cycle, A. Lorioli was sampled at one location on the WAP shelf during four separate cruises between March 2000 and March 2001. Reproductive patterns were determined by histological analyses of gonad tissue, and elemental (CHN) analyses were used to estimate the nutritional and energetic status of the body tissues. Histological analysis of the brooding echinoid A. lorioli suggested a quasi-continuous gametogenic pattern in both the ovaries and the testes. Biochemical analysis of the gonads and the gut tissues were consistent with a continuous gametogenic cycle, showing no significant changes in the biochemical composition of the tissues among seasons. Size-frequency distributions of the embryo and juvenile echinoids within the adults’ brood pouches revealed a synchronous recruitment of embryos and juveniles in specific cohorts between different adult specimens. Whilst this occurrence of different cohorts of the developing brood may be an adaptation to limited brood space, there may also be an external factor influencing the synchrony between adult individuals. Nonetheless, a continuous gametogenic cycle and the lack of seasonal variation in the biochemical composition of gonad and gut tissues suggest that this deposit-feeding irregular urchin is exploiting a persistent sediment food bank in WAP shelf sediments throughout much of the year.


Food Bank Brooding Pouch Gonad Index Vitellogenic Oocyte Test Diameter 
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 work was carried out with funding from an NERC studentship, and from the NSF funded FOODBANCS programme 1999–2003 (NSF grant no. OPP-9816049 to C.R.S and D.J. DeMaster). Thanks also to the British Antarctic Survey for their funding and use of facilities during the biochemical analysis. Thanks to the crew and scientists on the RV L.M. Gould and the RV N.B. Palmer for their assistance during sample collection. This is contribution 6609 from SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth A. Galley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul A. Tyler
    • 1
  • Andrew Clarke
    • 2
  • Craig R. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Southampton Oceanography CentreSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.British Antarctic SurveyNERCCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Department of OceanographyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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