Several approaches have been tested to respond to the depletion of wild stocks, from the production of seeds to the setting up of closed echinoculture systems, starting with fertilization of eggs with the consequent development to adult sea urchins. Hence, in the last years, our research group has focused on the assessment of a feasible and sustainable strategy aimed to ensure a rapid and effective gonadal growth of healthy gametes in recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to employ in ecotoxicological application. In order to compare the health of obtained gametes with wild populations, the effectiveness of diets was evaluated with different biological parameters, such as fertilization and embryo-development test, and with histological analysis of gonads to appraise the stage of maturation. Moreover, the information regarding different breeding conditions of adults and genetic variability should be combined with the analysis of larval settlement and its requirements, demonstrating the importance of these parameters for the possible closure of the echinoculture cycle in RAS. Results achieved so far in terms of gonadal development and health of gametes have provided evidence of success in overcoming natural gaps between reproductive events in natural populations and an efficient and standardize breeding condition in RAS.
Part of the book: Sea Urchin