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The reproductive response of the sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus (G.) and Psammechinus miliaris (L.) to an hyperproteinated macrophytic diet

Abstract : The sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus and Psammechinus miliaris are submitted to the same environmental conditions in the Bay of Brest. The relationship between seasonal changes in food source quality and their gonad production was investigated in reproducing experimentally these conditions. In a first stage two macroalgae (Palmaria palmata and Laminaria digitata) were tested. P. miliaris showed a stronger preference for P. palmata and over a year-long experiment both urchins progressively preferred P. palmata. Seasonal variations in the chemical composition of P. palmaria were observed in the Bay of Brest: total carbohydrates were important and the relative maximum (about 50%) was reached between February and August; the lipid level was low and had a relative maximum of about 1% in June and August. Total protein in P. palmaria was high compared to other seaweeds: the maximum value (25%) was observed in June, that was probably due to the maintenance of nitrogen nutrient in the bay. In the second stage of the study, seasonal changes in biochemical components of ingestion and absorption of the two sea urchins were followed in the laboratory using a monospecific diet of P. palmaria. The patterns of total carbohydrates and lipid absorption were very similar for both sea urchin species. Carbohydrates were absorbed strongly and uniformly, year round. Lipid absorption mimicked the lipid nutrient pattern in the food source. Only changes in protein absorption varied slightly between the two urchin species. Protein absorption was maximal for both species in February and June, but the quantity of absorbed protein was significantly higher in P. miliaris than in P. lividus during February. This increase was concomitant with protein storage in the sea urchin gonads, which peaked in February for P. miliaris and in June for P. lividus. P. lividus had a higher gonad production efficiency, based on gonad yield. The comparison between in situ data and the experimental results suggests that an algal diet more nitrogenous than the in situ algal food source would benefit the herbivorous P. lividus, rather than the more omnivorous species P. miliaris. Although P. milaris has been described as a species with large gonad production potential, P. lividus appears to be a more suitable species for echiniculture condition
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Anne-Gaelle Jacquin, Anne Donval, Jacques Guillou, Sandra Leyzour, Eric Deslandes, et al.. The reproductive response of the sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus (G.) and Psammechinus miliaris (L.) to an hyperproteinated macrophytic diet. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Elsevier, 2006, 339, pp.43-54. ⟨10.1016/j.jembe.2006.07.005⟩. ⟨hal-00460554⟩

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