Sex in the ocean: testing for sperm limitation in the appendicularian Oikopleura dioica

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Oikopleura dioica is the only strictly coastal appendicularian. It is also the only dioecious appendicularian species (i.e., there are male and female individuals), which suggests that it is limited to the coast because of reduced gamete encounter offshore. Yet studies of sperm and egg distribution in the ocean are still very rare. With this thesis, we propose to culture Oikopleura dioica in the laboratory, develop genetic markers to identify and count gametes in the ocean, produce maps of egg and sperm density and finally test the hypothesis of sex encounter limitation in this species using mechanistic models of gamete encounter. The thesis involves laboratory work and field sampling.
This project requires sampling during the summer, or during late spring.
Number of students: 
academic year: 
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
José Luis Acuña
Other people involved: 
Eva García (
Reference Number: RP-35692