Monday, July 9, 2012

Long-Spined Sea Urchin: Diadema Antillarum

A customer of Microscope World (Mr. Martin Moe) has been working on a project to secure viable culture methods for producing the Long-spined Sea Urchin, Diadema antillarum. He was kind enough to share many of his photos with us.

The Diadema Antillarum sea urchin is especially known for its long black spines. It is the most abundant and important herbivore on the coral reefs of the western Atlantic and Caribbean basin. When the population of these urchins is at a healthy level, they play a key part in preventing algae overgrowth on the reef, as they are grazers.

All images were captured using the Meiji MT4300 biological laboratory microscope.

"Teardrop" shape of juveniles that metamorphosis early: day 30-33.

Larvae with large rudiments: day 31.

An experimental settlement strip with settlers: day 41.

A cement settlement plate, no settlers or juveniles visible.

A new juvenile on the move: day 41.

 A day-old juvenile at the corner edge of a Petri dish: day 41.

New juvenile: day 41.

Juveniles on the side of an egg crate settlement plate: day 58.

Single juvenile on a rock in a small settlement tray: day 58.

Juveniles on a flat settlement plate: day 58.

Juvenile in a Petri dish with crustose coralline algae cover: day 58.

A big thank you to Mr. Martin Moe for sharing images from his hard work on this project with Microscope World. Hope you enjoyed the images as much as we did!