Reproductive investment, synchrony and recruitment success in marine broadcast spawners: Effects of mating system and habitat (exposed shore versus estuary)

Mar Environ Res. 2015 Dec;112(Pt B):33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.07.001. Epub 2015 Jul 8.


The timing and synchrony of gamete release in broadcast spawners have important implications for fertilization success, recruitment and to explain differences in reproductive success under distinct reproductive modes in sympatry. Our objective was to compare the reproductive timing and investment for sister species with contrasting mating systems; Fucus guiryi (selfing hermaphroditic) and Fucus vesiculosus (dioecious) in habitats with different wave exposures (exposed shore and estuary). Over two months, daily gamete release, recruitment and population structure were recorded. Our results show spawning synchrony between species and habitats, but release events in hermaphrodites occupied broader temporal windows in estuarine than exposed shore habitats. On the exposed shore both species increased the synchrony of release and amount of eggs. In the estuary, hermaphrodites relied on broader temporal spawning windows and a larger canopy, and the dioecious species had higher recruitment success, important factors determining persistence.

Keywords: Dioecious; Estuary; Exposed shore; Hermaphrodite; Mating system; Recruitment; Reproductive periodicity; Sympatric species; Synchrony.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environment*
  • Fucus / physiology*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Portugal
  • Reproduction
  • Species Specificity