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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 667:25-41 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13712

Different environmental drivers influence the reproduction of a tropical sponge (Tedania ignis) along a latitudinal gradient

Emilio Lanna1,2,*, Danyele Santos1,2, Vanessa Carvalho1, Bruno Vilela1, George G. Santos3, Luis F. Skinner4, Barbara Segal5,6, João L. Carraro7, Ulisses Pinheiro8

1Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Rua Barão de Jeremoabo, s/n, Campus de Ondina, Salvador, BA 40170-115, Brazil
2National Institute of Science and Technology in Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies in Ecology and Evolution (INCT IN-TREE), Salvador, BA 40170-115, Brazil
3Instituto de Formação de Educadores, Universidade Federal do Cariri, Rua Olegário Emídio de Araújo, s/n, Brejo Santo, CE 63260-000, Brazil
4Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Laboratório de Ecologia e Dinâmica Bêntica Marinha, Rua Francisco Portela 1470, sala 172, Patronato, São Gonçalo, RJ 24435-005, Brazil
5Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC 88040-970, Brazil
6Instituto Coral Vivo, Arraial d’Ajuda, Porto Seguro, BA 45816-000, Brazil
7Museu Nacional, Departamento de Invertebrados, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Quinta da Boa Vista, s/n, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20940-040, Brazil
8Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Zoologia - Laboratório de Porifera - LABPOR, Avenida Prof. Moraes Rêgo 1235, Cidade Universitária, Recife, PE 50670-901, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The life history of marine invertebrates is intrinsically related to the environmental conditions of their habitats. However, the effect of environmental factors on life history traits, e.g. reproduction, is poorly understood due to difficulties in cultivating these animals in controlled conditions. Natural experiments, using latitudinal gradients, provide an alternative to better understand this relationship. We investigated the effect of environmental factors on some aspects of the reproduction of Tedania ignis (Porifera, Demospongiae) along a latitudinal gradient in the Western Atlantic Ocean (WAO). We assessed the predicted trade-off between size and fecundity and biogeographical patterns in some of the life history traits of this sponge species. Except for the southernmost population, all populations of T. ignis reproduced aperiodically, but their reproductive dynamics were modulated by different sets of environmental factors. Therefore, this trait seems to be a physiological adaptation to local conditions. Nonetheless, the species reproduced mainly when the temperature was above 21°C, which could be a factor limiting its distribution along the tropical WAO. We did not detect any trade-off between size and quantity of oocytes and larvae in this species. A possible explanation is that the species invests low energy in offspring in a given period, resulting in a low but continuous reproductive effort, independently of the environmental conditions. These findings will be important to support management plans, as this species is a potential target for obtaining biotechnological natural products.


KEY WORDS: Trade-off · Temperature · Western Atlantic Ocean · Thorson’s rule · Demospongiae · Porifera


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Cite this article as: Lanna E, Santos D, Carvalho V, Vilela B and others (2021) Different environmental drivers influence the reproduction of a tropical sponge (Tedania ignis) along a latitudinal gradient. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 667:25-41. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13712

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