Articulated coralline algae of the genus Amphiroa are highly effective natural inducers of settlement in the tropical abalone Haliotis asinina

Elizabeth A. Williams, Alina Craigie, Alice Yeates, Sandie M. Degnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

The initiation of metamorphosis in marine invertebrates is strongly linked to the environment. Planktonic larvae typically are induced to settle and metamorphose by external cues such as coralline algae (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). Although coralline algae are globally abundant, invertebrate larvae of many taxa settle in response to a very limited suite of species. This specificity impacts population structure, as only locations with the appropriate coralline species can attract new recruits. Abalone (Gastropoda, Haliotidae) are among those taxa in which closely related species are known to respond to different coralline algae. Here we identify highly inductive natural cues of the tropical abalone Haliotis asinina. In contrast to reports for other abalone, the greatest proportion of H. asinina larvae are induced to settle and metamorphose (92.8% to 100% metamorphosis by 48 h postinduction) by articulated coral-lines of the genus Amphiroa. Comparison with field distribution data for different corallines suggests larvae are likely to be settling on the seaward side of the reef crest. We then compare the response of six different H. asinina larval families to five different coralline species to demonstrate that induction by the best inductive cue (Amphiroa spp.) effectively extinguishes substantial intraspecific variation in the timing of settlement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-107
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Bulletin
Volume215
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

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