Effects of Hyperoxic Conditions on Growth Performance in Juvenile and Adult Green Sea Urchin, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis

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Abstract

The effects of hyperoxic conditions on survival, gonad growth, feed intake, and food conversion of adult and somatic growth and survival of juvenile green sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, were examined. Juvenile and adult sea urchins with initial diameters of 11.5 and 75 mm, respectively, were reared in water with constant oxygen saturations of 100 (control), 115 and 130% for 42 d (juvenile) and 51 d (adult sea urchin) at 8 C and 33‰ salinity. During the experiment the gonad indices of the adults tripled from 7.3% (±1.5) to 21.4% (±4.3), 19.4% (±4.7), and 22.0% (±4.4) for the groups kept at 100, 115, and 130% oxygen saturation, respectively. At the end of the experiment, the differences in gonadal size among the groups were not significant. Neither were there any significant differences in food intake or food conversion ratio among the groups. Only one animal died during the experiment. The juvenile sea urchin kept at 100, 115, and 130% oxygen saturation doubled their test diameter from initially 11.5 mm (±1.5) to 19.9 mm (±1.4), 21.4 mm (±2.1) and 20.6 mm (1.0), respectively, but there were no significant differences in growth among these groups. There was no mortality during the experiments in these groups. Overall, the findings suggest that juvenile and adult S. droebachiensis are unable to utilize hypersaturation of oxygen to increase somatic or gonad growth, but can be reared at hyperoxygenated water for prolonged periods of time without harmful effects.

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