Hyposalinity reduces coordination and adhesion of sea urchin tube feet

Andrew J. Moura, Austin M. Garner, Carla A. Narvaez, Jack P. Cucchiara, Alyssa Y. Stark, Michael P. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of lowsalinity (hyposalinity) events in coastal marine habitats. Sea urchins are dominant herbivores in these habitats and are generally intolerant of salinity fluctuations. Their adhesive tube feet are essential for survival, effecting secure attachment and locomotion in high wave energy habitats, yet little is known about how hyposalinity impacts their function. We exposed green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) to salinities ranging from ambient (32 ) to severe (14 ) and assessed tube feet coordination (righting response, locomotion) and adhesion [disc tenacity (force per unit area)]. Righting response, locomotion and disc tenacity decreased in response to hyposalinity. Severe reductions in coordinated tube foot activities occurred at higher salinities than those that affected adhesion. The results of this study suggest moderate hyposalinities (24-28 ) have little effect on S. droebachiensis dislodgement risk and survival post-dislodgment, while severe hyposalinity (below 24 ) likely reduces movement and prevents recovery from dislodgment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjeb245750
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Climate change
  • Echinoderms
  • Extreme climatic events
  • Muscular hydrostats
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Hyposalinity reduces coordination and adhesion of sea urchin tube feet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this