Evidence for a soluble metamorphic inducer in Phestilla: ecological, chemical and biological data
A natural product of the coral Porites compressa induces larval metamorphosis in a predator of the coral, the nudibranch Phestilla sibogae. Seawater removed from coral heads in the field induces metamorphosis in these larvae. Concentrated "coral seawater" prepared in the laboratory is active in metamorphic induction after filtration through a 2,000-m.w. ultrafilter, but activity is at least partially retained by a 300–500-m.w. ultrafilter. This seawater contains twice as much dissolved organic carbon and eight times as much dissolved organic nitrogen as seawater standards. Larvae of P. sibogae exposed to coral-produced, metamorphic inducer at any time before achieving metamorphic competence do not metamorphose as long as they remain in the inducer. This habituation to inducer is reversed in competent larvae by 1–5 h removal to clean seawater before re-exposure to the coral product. The data imply that upwardly diffusing substances could influence the behavior of planktonic larvae so as to bring about site-specific settlement.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 September 1985
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