Sea Urchin Reproduce Sexually Or Asexually

Sea Urchin Reproduce Sexually Or Asexually

It has been documented around 40 edible sea urchin species within more than 900 species that exist worldwide. Among them, 11 species have recently been documented in Malaysia’s coral reef communities. These are: Diadema setosum, D. savignyi, Echinothrix diadema, Salmacis sphaeroides, Parasalenia gratiosa, Toxopneustes pileolus, Astropyga radiata, Echinometra mathaei, Echinothrix calamaris, Salmaciella dussumieri and Tripneustes gratilla.

However, very few systematic works have been done on the abundance, distribution and population growth patterns of D. setosum and S. sphaeroides in Malaysia but no published information on their breeding, nursing, seed production and culture techniques are available.

Due to the higher nutritional values of sea urchin gonad, it is very important to develop appropriate techniques for breeding and nursing. In view of this, two projects have been undertaken: (i) to develop a viable methodology for breeding, seed production and culture of D. setosum and S. sphaeroides in captivity and (ii) to determine the biochemical composition of gonads in a view to develop nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products for biomedical utilizations.

Sea Urchin Reproduce Sexually Or Asexually

The sexually matured adults of the sea urchins, D. setosum and S. sphaeroides, weighing from 100 to 150 g, were collected from Pulau Pangkor, Perak and Tanjung Kupang, Johor, respectively, at low tide during their natural breeding season from April to September, 2011. Immediately after collection, the live sea urchins were transported to the Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, where they were maintained in aerated aquaria before used for breeding trials.

Gametes from both female and male urchins were obtained by injecting 0.5 M KCl into the coelomic cavity. Eggs were collected by inverting female urchins over a glass beaker filled with filtered sea water (FSW). Fertilization was done at limited sperm concentration and the resulting embryos and larvae were reared. When the larvae attained feeding stage (four-armed pluteus), they were cultured in glass bottles on a rotating roller with a larval density of 1-2 individual/ml. Larvae were supplemented with a cultured phytoplankton, Chaetoceros calcitrans at concentrations of 4,000-8,000 cells per ml of medium daily until attaining metamorphic competence within 1 month post-fertilization.

Induction of metamorphosis was performed on coralline red algal extracts + Chaetoceros diatom (50:50) in petri dishes (9.0 x 3.0 cm) containing FSW. Majority of the competent larvae were metamorphosed to young juveniles within 1 day post-settlement and then cultured on coralline algal stones in aerated aquaria for three months by which time they attained appropriate juvenile sizes (Fig. 4a,b) for stocking in grow out culture aquaria.

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