Do reproductive tactics vary with habitat heterogeneity in the intertidal sea anemone Actinia tenebrosa?

Sherman, Craig D. H., Peuker, Amanda J. and Ayre, David J. 2007, Do reproductive tactics vary with habitat heterogeneity in the intertidal sea anemone Actinia tenebrosa?, Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology, vol. 340, no. 2, pp. 259-267, doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2006.09.016.

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Title Do reproductive tactics vary with habitat heterogeneity in the intertidal sea anemone Actinia tenebrosa?
Formatted title Do reproductive tactics vary with habitat heterogeneity in the intertidal sea anemone Actinia tenebrosa?
Author(s) Sherman, Craig D. H.ORCID iD for Sherman, Craig D. H.
Peuker, Amanda J.
Ayre, David J.
Journal name Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology
Volume number 340
Issue number 2
Start page 259
End page 267
Publisher Elservier B.V.
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2007-01-23
ISSN 0022-0981
Summary Cnidarians display a diverse range of reproductive tactics including sexual and asexual modes of reproduction. Although few studies have looked for intraspecific variation in reproductive tactics, flexible expression of such life-history traits may be favoured in species that occupy a range of habitats. We tested this in the sea anemone Actinia tenebrosa by comparing cycles of reproductive activity and the mode of production of brooded larvae in local populations occupying boulder fields and stable rock platforms. We determined the mode of production of broods from eight rock platforms (separated by up to 1600 km) and two boulder shores on the south east coast of Australia using a combination of allozyme data and four newly characterised microsatellite markers.

We determined seasonal patterns of brooding and gonad development by monthly dissection of 15–30 adults from each of two boulder fields and two stable platforms. Previous genetic studies have shown that populations of A. tenebrosa on rock platforms can be highly clonal, whereas anemones on more heterogeneous boulder habitats display levels of genotypic diversity similar to that expected for sexual reproduction. We genotyped a total of 221 juveniles from 37 brooding adults including 11 broods and 80 juveniles from boulder shores. We did not detect any evidence of sexual production of broods. All brooded juveniles displayed identical multi-locus genotypes to their brood parent irrespective of habitat of origin or location, including 28 broods (200 juveniles) that were heterozygous at one or more locus. Similarly, we found that temporal patterns of gonad formation and brooding were consistent across habitats and locations. We detected 346 mature males, 234 non-reproductive or immature individuals, and no mature females within a total of 580 dissected individuals. These data suggest that the reproductive tactics of A. tenebrosa are essentially fixed and that variation in the genotypic diversity of populations may reflect variation in factors such as the input of sexually derived planktonically dispersed recruits or post-settlement processes. However, the apparent lack of females paradoxically implies that sexual reproduction, and hence recruitment, must be rare or no longer possible within some populations, and highlights the need for long-term studies of these populations.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2006.09.016
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
060207 Population Ecology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Elsevier B.V.
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