Skip to main content
Maternal Diet and Juvenile Quality in the Sea Star Leptasterias aequalis
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2010)
  • Brian L. Bingham, Western Washington University
  • Alyssa-Lois M Gehman
Nutritional provisioning that passes from a mother to her offspring can produce maternal carryover effects. Though the importance of maternal carryover effects on embryos and early juveniles is well established, it is less clear how long the effects persist and whether they can be detected in subsequent life stages of the offspring. Manipulating the amount of food available to a maternal organism is one way to manipulate maternal investment ability and thereby test maternal carryover. We collected adult brooding Leptasterias aequalis from three beaches with varying prey communities in the northern Puget Sound. When broods were released, we measured size and survival of the juveniles under starvation conditions. The maternal sea stars were then assigned to different feeding treatments and their diets were controlled for a full year until they spawned again. We measured size and growth of juveniles released from these second broods. Juvenile L. aequalis from the initial broods showed surprising resistance to starvation with 80% survival after 6 months and some juveniles living a full year with no food. Juvenile survival over time varied significantly among the mothers from the three study beaches, but we were unable to demonstrate a significant difference in the mean month of juvenile death. Juvenile size also varied significantly among mothers from the three study beaches, even when differences in female size by beach were accounted for. Adult female feeding treatments had no effect on the size of juveniles in the second broods. The patterns of juvenile performance mirrored those seen in the first year regardless of feeding treatment. The beach that a female came from seemed to have a stronger effect than a year of diet treatment. When looking at multiple generations of carryover in L. aequalis, it seems that genetic legacies, and possibly full female feeding history, have a greater effect on juvenile quality than a single year of maternal feeding.
  • Brooding,
  • Carryover effect,
  • Genetic legacies,
  • Juvenile size
Publication Date
April, 2010
Publisher Statement
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Citation Information
Brian L. Bingham and Alyssa-Lois M Gehman. "Maternal Diet and Juvenile Quality in the Sea Star Leptasterias aequalis" Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology Vol. 386 Iss. 1-2 (2010)
Available at: