Phenotypic and genetic consequences of size selection at the larval stage in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Type Article
Date 2006-05
Language English
Author(s) Taris Nicolas1, Ernande BrunoORCID1, 2, McCombie Helen1, 3, Boudry PierreORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, LGP, F-17390 La Tremblade, France.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Ressources Halieut, F-14520 Port En Bessin, France.
3 : Experiance, F-17000 La Rochelle, France.
Source Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (0022-0981) (Elsevier), 2006-05 , Vol. 333 , N. 1 , P. 147-158
DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2005.12.007
WOS© Times Cited 47
Keyword(s) Oysters, Larvae, Hatchery, Genetic diversity, Culling, Crassostrea gigas
Abstract The life histories of oysters in the genus Crassostrea, like those of most marine bivalves, are typified by high fecundity and low survival in nature. Rearing conditions in hatcheries however ensure optimized density, diet, and temperature. Hatcheries are becoming increasingly important for the production of juveniles in aquaculture, and their culture practices often include culling of slow growing larvae to reduce and synchronize the time taken to reach settlement. Because previous studies have found substantial genetic variation for early life developmental traits in Crassostrea gigas, these culling practices are likely to cause highly different selective pressures in hatcheries from those in the natural environment. We studied the phenotypic and genetic impact of such culling practices in a factorial cross between 10 males and 3 females subjected to progressive culling of the smallest 50% of larvae, compared with a non-culled control. Measurements were made on larval growth, survival, time taken to attain pediveliger stage and settlement success. Culling had a larger effect on the variance of these larval traits than on their means. The larvae in culled cultures were approximately 10% larger than those in controls, whereas the coefficient of variation was reduced by 30-40%. Culling also reduced the mean time to settlement by 12% and its variance by 55%. Using a multiplexed set of microsatellite markers to trace parentage, we also estimated the variance in reproductive success in a controlled experiment to quantify the consequences of intensive hatchery rearing practices. We also focused on changes in effective population size and genetic structure over time (and developmental stages). Our results show a loss of genetic diversity following removal of the smallest larvae by culling, as well as temporally varying genetic structure of the larval population. This supports the existence of genetic variability in early life developmental traits in C. gigas. Culling in hatcheries, like size-related selective pressures in the wild, are likely to have a significant genetic impact, through their effects on the timing of settlement.
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