Direct Coupling of Marine Invertebrate Spawning with Phytoplankton Blooms

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Science  02 Mar 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4946, pp. 1071-1074
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4946.1071


Spawning of green sea urchins and blue mussels may be triggered by a heat-stable metabolite released by various species of phytoplankton. Mussels require a higher phytoplankton density for a maximum response than urchins, perhaps because mussels are exposed to higher concentrations of phytoplankton as a result of their filtering activity. Phytoplankton as a spawning cue appears to integrate numerous physical and biotic factors indicating favorable conditions for larval growth and survival. Evolution of similar direct coupling of the larval phase with phytoplankton blooms may be common among marine invertebrates.

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