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Title: Exploring impacts of marine heatwaves: paternal heat exposure diminishes fertilization success in the purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)

Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are projected to increase in intensity and frequency over the coming decades, and it is imperative to assess the adaptive capacity of marine organisms to these extreme temperature events. Given the nature of MHWs to last days to weeks in a region, these events may have overarching impacts on phenological events like reproduction and development. Here, the role of adult thermal history and transgenerational plasticity may be an important pathway by which MHWs are transduced to impact community structure. In this study, we sought to explore the effects of paternal thermal history in the purple urchin,Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, on a crucial aspect of reproduction, fertilization. Using ecologically relevant temperatures representative of both MHW events that occurred in 2014–2020 and non-MHW temperatures in our region of the California Large Marine Ecosystem, we conditioned maleS. purpuratusfor 28 days to either a high, MHW or a low, non-MHW temperature. Following the temperature acclimation of adults, sperm performance was tested for individual males by conducting fertilization success trials at varying temperatures and sperm concentrations. While sperm appeared robust to elevated temperature during fertilization, sperm produced by high-temperature-acclimated males had overall diminished performance as compared to those acclimated to non-MHW temperatures. These results more » suggest MHW events will have a negative impact on fertilization in situ forS. purpuratuspopulations. Furthermore, these results highlight the importance of considering both male and female environmental history in projections of reproduction under climate change scenarios.

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Marine Biology
Springer Science + Business Media
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National Science Foundation
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