Role of density in aggregation patterns and synchronization of spawning in the hermaphroditic scallop Pecten fumatus

T. Mendo*, N. Moltschaniwskyj, J. M. Lyle, S. R. Tracey, J. M. Semmens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In broadcast spawners, low densities and poor spawning synchronization can reduce fertilization success. In wild populations, individuals in close proximity tend to spawn more synchronously than those further apart, suggesting that low spawner densities may reduce gamete production by lessening the efficacy of pheromone signalling. This study assessed the role of adult density in aggregation patterns and spawning synchronization in a semi-sessile, hermaphroditic scallop, Pecten fumatus. The study was carried out in Great Bay, Tasmania, Australia (147.335 W, 43.220 S) in 2010–2012 by assessing (1) the relationship between density, small-scale aggregation patterns and nearest neighbour distance (NND), (2) the temporal pattern of spawning synchronization, and (3) the effect of site density and conspecific proximity on the probability of spawning. Densities observed in the field ranged from 1.455 to 0.021 ind m−2. Sites with lower densities had less small-scale aggregation and greater NNDs. Patterns of small-scale aggregation and NNDs in P. fumatus were comparable to those observed in a gonochoristic species. Spawning synchronization was highly variable, ranging between 3.5 and 59.8 % of individuals spawning. P. fumatus was more likely to engage in spawning activity when at greater densities and at closer proximity to conspecifics. This strongly suggests that lower densities in this scallop reduce not only the number of individuals contributing to the production of gametes, but also reduces the synchronization of spawning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2857-2868
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2014


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