1. A photographic method is described for recording volume changes in seaurchin eggs.
2. The behaviour of the eggs of Psammechinus miliaris, both before and at various intervals after fertilisation, in relation to osmotic changes in the surrounding medium have been investigated.
3. The rate of entrance of water from hypotonic sea water into the egg increases immediately after fertilisation takes place, rises to a first maximum at about 3 min. after fertilisation. It then falls to a comparatively low value at about 5 min. after fertilisation. After this the rate increases steadily to a maximum value which is reached about 35 min. after fertilisation. It remains steady until just before cleavage when, in the single experiment continued until this stage of development, it decreased very markedly.
4. The action of hypertonic solutions on the egg has been examined. Several types of plasmolysis occur and are characteristic of different stages in the development of the egg after fertilisation. The type of plasmolysis is determined principally by the physical properties of the egg surface. The plasmolysis method is of little use in this material for the determination of relative permeability to dissolved substances at different stages of development.
5. The rate of cytolysis in tap water has been investigated and its relation to permeability of the egg surface to water is considered. There is a susceptible period followed by one of resistance during the first 5-10 min. after fertilisation. The rate of cytolysis is conditioned, not only by the rate of entrance of water but also by the degree to which the cell surface will withstand stretching. The latter may be a significant factor.
6. The rate of Zytolysis in extremely hypertonic solutions of sea water + NaCl has been examined. It increases to a maximum at about 5-10 min. after fertilisation. Thereafter it decreases. Cytolysis in the unfertilised egg and just after fertilisation is a sudden process. Later it becomes more and more gradual and progresses slowly from the surface to the interior of the egg. The relation between the rate of cytolysis and permeability is uncertain.