Postprint of: White, CA, Dworjanyn, SA, Nichols, PD, Mos, B & Dempster, T 2016, 'Future aquafeeds may compromise reproductive fitness in a marine invertebrate', Marine Environmental Research, vol. 122, pp. 67-75.
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Aquaculture of higher trophic level species is increasingly dependent on the use of terrestrial oil products. The input of terrestrially derived n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) into marine environments has subsequently increased, with unknown consequences for recipient species. We exposed a sea urchin, Heliocidaris erythrogramma to three experimental diets for 78 days: a high n-3 PUFA marine imitation treatment, a high n-6 PUFA "future aquafeed" treatment and an intermediate "current aquafeed" treatment. Female urchins fed the high n-6 PUFA diet produced larvae with lower survival rates than all other treatments. Males fed the high n-6 PUFA diet produced no viable sperm. Fatty acid composition in reproductive material revealed comprehensive biosynthetic and dietary sparing capabilities in H. erythrogramma. Despite this, the ratio of n-6 PUFA to n-3 PUFA in reproductive tissue increased significantly with diet. We suggest alterations to this ratio is the likely mechanism of negative impact on larval development.