Likely, we have all been bewildered by the enormous variety of invertebrate larvae in the plankton. Asked for the name of a weird-shaped, medium-sized creature in a plankton net tow, a stock answer is “Probably a larval form of something”. Why are there so many different forms in the plankton? Why are larval forms so very different from adults? These questions persist despite the fact that development in marine invertebrates has been studied for far longer than in any other group. Recall that fertilization of an embryo was first observed in sea urchins in the 1870s and sea urchins are still model organisms in embryology. However, many tantalizing questions remain concerning origins and ecologies of larvae. This book brings together a wide-ranging collection of chapters on marine invertebrate larvae which overall suggest that there are likely a large variety of origins and there is certainly a diversity of ecologies in marine invertebrate larvae. The volume is composed of 17 stand-alone chapters grouped into four sections: “Evolutionary Origins and Transitions in Developmental Mode” (81 pages in six chapters), “Functional Morphology and Ecology of Larval Forms” (55 pages in three chapters), “Larval Transport, Settlement and Metamorphosis” (80 pages in four chapters) and “Larval Ecology at the Extremes” (92 pages in five chapters). The chapters for the most part are multi-authored review articles, each with their own reference list, most of which include works through 2016. Despite the title of the book (and as the section headings might hint) not all the chapters have an evolutionary approach. For example, the chapters grouped in the section “Larval Transport, Settlement and Metamorphosis”: Physiology of larval feeding, Larval transport, Fluid dynamics and sensory aspects, Latent effects, while all quite interesting, lack an overt evolutionary perspective. Similarly, the chapter “Larval Ecology in the Face of Changing Climate- Impacts of Ocean Warming and Ocean Acidification” lacks consideration of evolutionary responses as does the chapter “Ecotoxicology in Marine Environments: the Protective Role of ABC Transporters in Sea Urchin Embryos and Larvae”. While this book will not replace the Atlas of Marine Invertebrate Larvae (alas out of print!) and is probably not for an evolutionary ecologist, overall, the volume serves as a very nice, up to date compendium of both past and current research on marine invertebrate larvae. Speaking of past research and where we began (with sea urchin larvae) the chapter on phenotypic plasticity reminds us that larval morphologies are not only fantastic but also variable, shifting with feeding conditions. Current research is showing that the microbiomes of sea urchin larvae is variable as well. The production is of high quality and while the illustrations are in black and white, there is a 12 page color section in the center of the book. For those plankton researchers who are curious about the odd creatures that turn into something completely different when adult, the book is a good value and provides considerable food for thought. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Journal of Plankton Research – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 9, 2018
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