Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. MD Saydur Rahman

Second Advisor

Dr. John A. Breier

Third Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Fierro Cabo


Environmental phenomena such as temperature, photoperiod, tidal cycle, and lunar rhythm act as external cues that stimulate the reproductive activity of marine organisms. In this study, I report the annual and lunar reproductive cycles, and changes in nutritive phagocytes (NPs) in relation to gonadal maturation of Atlantic sea urchin (Arbacia punctulata, a primeval species). Monthly and weekly changes in gonadal development/maturation were observed histologically. In male, the testicular lobules were densely packed with sperm from June to August. In female, on the other hand, mature eggs first appeared in some ovaries in May, numerically increased from June to July, and decreased in August. During gametogenesis, NPs in both sexes were depleted from June to August. Histological observations revealed that the gonad developed synchronously around the new moon. Collectively, these results suggest that A. punctulata spawns several times during the summer months according to lunar cycle in the Gulf of Mexico.


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