Hope springs eternal in the starfish gonad: preserved potential for sexual reproduction in a single-clone population of a fissiparous starfish

Garcia-Cisneros, A, Pérez-Portela, R, Wangensteen Fuentes, OS, Campos-Canet, M and Palacín, C 2017, 'Hope springs eternal in the starfish gonad: preserved potential for sexual reproduction in a single-clone population of a fissiparous starfish' , Hydrobiologia, 787 (1) , pp. 291-305.

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Abstract

Among echinoderms, asexual reproduction by fission occurs in few species. This strategy is considered a temporary response to stressful conditions and usually alternates with sexual reproduction events; thus, monoclonal populations are extremely rare. The occurrence of a single-clone population of the starfish Coscinasterias tenuispina at Llançà (NW Mediterranean) allowed us to study intra-clonal variation of the reproductive cycle during a two-year study. The few developed gonads (all male) were found in winter months, coinciding with the minimum photoperiod (ρ = −0.82; P < 0.001) and lowest temperatures (ρ = −0.75; P < 0.001), only in best-fed individuals, indicating that food availability influences individual ability for gonad development. Fissiparity happened throughout all the sampled period, but its rate increased with warm temperatures (ρ = 0.68; P < 0.0001). In contrast to what has been reported in other species, no correlation between fission rates and population density was found. The population was maintained over time by asexual reproduction and remained monoclonal. Although sexual reproduction has probably not occurred in this all-male population for a long time, the ability to yearly produce mature gonads is retained by some individuals, indicating that potential to reproduce sexually may be preserved, even in the case of strictly asexual populations.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Hydrobiologia
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0018-8158
Related URLs:
Funders: Spanish Government
Depositing User: Dr. Owen S. Wangensteen
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 12:51
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2017 09:59
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/41201

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