Top of Page
Skip main navigation

Fertilization Ecology

Course Numbers: MEVS 5160, OCMB 6090

This course gives a general overview of fertilization ecology focusing in marine free‐spawning invertebrates and fish. Students will compare the many obstacles to reproductive success in free‐spawning marine organisms (i.e., distance, dilution, timing, egg location, species specificity, competition, prevention of polyspermy) to the potential benefits of this reproductive strategy. Topics covered in this course include: sperm chemotaxis, gamete recognition proteins, sperm competition, sperm motility, polyspermy, Allee Effect, gamete aging, fertilization models and the effect of hydrodynamics on fertilization. This course will consist of lecture, discussions, and laboratory experiments.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • gain an overview of fertilization ecology in the sea
  • describe how hydrodynamics and the environment affect fertilization
  • gain knowledge on how marine organisms have evolved to enhance fertilization success
  • understand how sexual conflict has driven adaptations in egg and sperm traits
  • become familiar with the role gamete recognition proteins have on fertilization success and recognizing conspecifics
  • identify obstacles to fertilization success that organisms currently face as the environment changes and population densities decline


Return to top of page