Zoological Studies

Vol. 39 No. 3, 2000

Stress and Deviant Reproduction in Echinoderms

John M. Lawrence1,* and Joan Herrera2

1Department of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA
2Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA

John M. Lawrence and Joan Herrera (2000) Normal reproductive characteristics in echinoderms include non-maternal nutrition with a planktonic feeding developmental stage, sexual reproduction with gonochorism, seasonal reproduction, and no protection of young by secondary metabolites. Deviant reproductive characteristics include maternal nutrition of the developmental stage that may be planktonic, demersal, or brooded; hermaphroditic sexual reproduction; intermittent or continuous low-level reproduction; protection of young by secondary metabolites; and asexual reproduction. We tested the hypothesis that stress, which causes a decrease in capacity for production, was a factor responsible for deviant reproductive characteristics by comparing taxa from the subphylum to species levels. In the examples used, deviant reproduction occurred in the taxa for which stress could be predicted. Although other factors undoubtably affect reproductive characteristics, the analysis indicates that stress must be considered an important one.

Key words: Echinoderms, Stress, Reproduction, Life-history.

*Correspondence: Tel: 1-813-9742549. Fax: 1-813-9743263. E-mail: lawr@chuma. cas.usf.edu