Recent research indicates that abiotic environmental factors, including temperature, may be as important as chemical cues in controlling the induction of metamorphosis of marine invertebrate larvae. In this study, the effects of elevated temperature or heat shock on the induction of metamorphosis in the tropical marine gastropod, Strombus gigas, are examined. Elevations in temperature above culture temperatures (28°C to 29°C) to 37°C to 38°C induced high levels of metamorphosis (77% to 100%), equivalent to those induced by a known algal associated inducer, an extract of Laurencia poitei. The age for competency to metamorphosis and the exposure time needed to induce this process were similar for heat shock and for the algal-associated cue. Understanding the interaction between abiotic and biotic factors during metamorphosis may help to better predict recruitment patterns for this commercially important species.
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Vol. 24 • No. 4