Reproduction of Antarctic benthic marine invertebrates: tempos, modes, and timing

Academic Article


  • There is little or no evidence for temperature adaptation with respect to reproduction (gametogenesis), development, and growth. It remains to be determined whether the slow rates of these processes reflect some inherent inability to adapt to low temperatures, or are a response to features of the Antarctic marine environment not directly related to low temperature, such as low food resources. Pelagic development is common in many groups of shallow-water marine invertebrates. Pelagic lecithotrophic development occurs in many shallow-water Antarctic marine macroinvertebrates, possibly an adaptation to a combination of poor food conditions in Antarctic waters most of the year and slow rates of development. Nevertheless, some of the most abundant and widespread antarctic marine invertebrates have pelagic planktotrophic larvae that take very long times to complete development to metamorphosis. These species are particularly prevalent in productive regions of shallow water (<30 m), which are frequently disturbed by anchor ice formation, and the production of numerous pelagic planktotrophic larvae may represent a strategy for colonization. Although planktotrophic larvae tend to be seasonal in occurrence, their production is not linked particularly close to the mid-summer pulse of phytoplankton production. These larvae show no evidence of starvation, even during times when phytoplankton abundance is very low, and they may depend on unusual sources of food, such as bacteria. -from Authors
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pearse JS; McClintock JB; Bosch I
  • Start Page

  • 65
  • End Page

  • 80
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 1