Sea Urchin Gamete collection

Spawning can be induced in adult sea urchinsby injecting 1 ml of a0.5M KCl solution into several sites in the soft membrane around the mouth. Within minutes, the gametes should appear: the sperm are off-white, the eggs are tan to orange. Collect the sperm by inverting the male onto a small, dry petri dish. After several minutes, cover the sperm and put on ice. Collect the eggs by inverting the female onto a small beaker filled with ASW (room temperature for L. variegatus, and below 14ºC for S.purpuratus and L.pictus ). Keep urchins from falling in with aluminum foil supports. Allow eggs to settle, pour off ASW and replace with fresh ASW (at same temperature).

Colletion of sperm (left) and eggs (right) from L. variegatus

The sperm can be transfered to a small tube and stored at 4° C for up to 2 weeks. Eggs should normally be used on the same day as they are collected. Consult the Sea Urchin Embryology web site for a protocol for collecting the eggs with antibiotics, which allows them to be stored for several weeks before use. Check to see if the population contains a large percentage of immature eggs; they will not fertilize.

Instructor's prep sheet

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© 2001 Cebra-Thomas

Last Modified: 29 August, 2001

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