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Barrens of gold: gonad conditioning of an overabundant sea urchin

Pert, Cassandra G., Swearer, Stephen E., Dworjanyn, Symon, Kriegisch, Nina, Turchini, Giovanni M., Francis, David S. and Dempster, Tim 2018, Barrens of gold: gonad conditioning of an overabundant sea urchin, Aquaculture environment interactions, vol. 10, pp. 345-361, doi: 10.3354/aei00274.

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Title Barrens of gold: gonad conditioning of an overabundant sea urchin
Author(s) Pert, Cassandra G.
Swearer, Stephen E.
Dworjanyn, Symon
Kriegisch, Nina
Turchini, Giovanni M.ORCID iD for Turchini, Giovanni M. orcid.org/0000-0003-0694-4283
Francis, David S.ORCID iD for Francis, David S. orcid.org/0000-0002-4829-6926
Dempster, Tim
Journal name Aquaculture environment interactions
Volume number 10
Start page 345
End page 361
Total pages 17
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2018
ISSN 1869-215X
1869-7534
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Fisheries
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Roe enhancement
Heliocidaris erythrogramma
Aquaculture
Urchin barren
Temperature
Purple urchin
NEW-SOUTH-WALES
STRONGYLOCENTROTUS-DROEBACHIENSIS
EVECHINUS-CHLOROTICUS
HELIOCIDARIS-ERYTHROGRAMMA
PARACENTROTUS-LIVIDUS
CENTROSTEPHANUS-RODGERSII
REPRODUCTIVE IMPAIRMENT
EMBRYONIC-DEVELOPMENT
CHRONIC EXPOSURE
Summary Overgrazing by the overabundant native purple urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma has caused kelp-dominated reefs to shift to urchin barrens throughout southeastern Australia. These areas are characterised by low kelp abundance, low biodiversity and high urchin densities. As purple urchin gonads are a delicacy in many countries, commercial harvest from barrens could aid kelp recovery. However, the lack of macroalgae in these habitats, driven by high urchin densities, results in urchins with small, poor-quality roe that is commercially undesirable. To overcome this, we assessed whether urchin gonad quantity and quality could be improved with access to high-quality feed and optimal environmental conditions, a process known as ‘gonad conditioning’. Specifically, we (1) surveyed the quality of urchins from barrens and kelp sites in Port Phillip Bay, Australia, over 18 mo and (2) tested if gonad conditioning was effective on urchins from barrens during and after the harvest season. Field surveys revealed considerable variation in gonad size across sites, habitats and collection periods (mean gonad index range: 3 to 12%). Gonad conditioning with the best diet increased urchin gonad size by up to 2.8 times during the harvest season. Moreover, gonads of conditioned urchins from one barren were 3 times brighter in colour and contained lower concentrations of arsenic than wild urchins. In contrast, gonad conditioning at 22°C after the harvest season was ineffective. Our results show that targeted in-season harvest from barrens and subsequent gonad conditioning produces roe of commercial quality, promoting the use of urchin fisheries as a tool for managing urchin barrens.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/aei00274
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30113839

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.