University of Tasmania
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Factors influencing the reproductive development and\ early life history of blacklip (Haliotis rubra) and\ greenlip (H. laevigata) abalone

posted on 2023-05-26, 08:35 authored by Grubert, MA
A study was initiated to determine the effect of selected factors on the reproductive development and early life history of blacklip (Haliotis rubra) and greenlip (H. laevigata) abalone relevant to their wild fisheries or aquaculture. In both species, the rate of gonadal and larval development was proportional to water temperature, but the relationship was not simply multiplicative, rather there was a critical minimum water temperature below which development was arrested, known as the Biological Zero Point (BZP). The BZP for gonadal development was 7.8 degrees C for H. rubra and 6.9 degrees C for H. laevigata. Corresponding BZP values for larval development were 7.8 degrees C and 7.2 degrees C, respectively. Observations of larval development relative to temperature enabled a description of the Effective Accumulative Temperature (EAT; the cumulative difference between the culture temperature and the BZP, calculated hourly) for prominent developmental stages. The difference between the EAT for metamorphic competence and that for hatchout (i.e. the interval during which the larvae remain in the water column) was 1120 and 1160 EAT degrees C-h for blacklip and greenlip abalone, respectively. These values, in combination with water temperature data, enable the prediction of the dispersal window for each species in situ. Spawning performance of blacklip and greenlip abalone was also affected by temperature, with both sexes of each species producing significantly more gametes when conditioned at 16 degrees C than 18 degrees C. Sperm production of H. rubra was an order of magnitude greater than that of equivalent sized H. laevigata. There was no apparent difference in the lipid or fatty acid composition of the ovary or testis between pre- and post-spawning animals of either species, presumably because of partial spawning and/or incomplete resorption of the gonad. Likewise, a 4 degrees C difference in conditioning temperature (i.e. 14 degrees C vs 18 degrees C) was insufficient to elicit changes in tissue biochemistry. There was a significant interaction between sperm density and contact time on the fertilisation success of eggs from both blacklip and greenlip abalone. Prolonged exposure (> 1200 s for H. rubra and > 480 s for H. laevigata) to concentrated sperm (i.e. 107 ml-1) resulted in egg destruction. Analysis of CoVariance of F50 values (i.e. the sperm concentration required for 50% fertilisation, derived from the linear regression of logit (proportion of eggs fertilised) versus sperm density) between species across a range of contact times demonstrated that contact time had a significant effect (p < 0.001) whereas species did not (p = 0.22). The lack of a species effect suggests that the fertilisation potential of blacklip and greenlip abalone eggs are similar, at least across the range of sperm densities and contact times used.


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