Latitudinal drivers of oyster mortality: deciphering host, pathogen and environmental risk factors

Diseases pose an ongoing threat to aquaculture, fisheries and conservation of marine species, and determination of risk factors of disease is crucial for management. Our objective was to decipher the effects of host, pathogen and environmental factors on disease-induced mortality of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) across a latitudinal gradient. We deployed young and adult oysters at 13 sites in France and we monitored survival, pathogens and environmental parameters. The young oysters came from either the wild collection or the hatchery while the adults were from the wild only. We then used Cox regression models to investigate the effect of latitude, site, environmental factors and origin on mortality risk and to extrapolate this mortality risk to the distribution limits of the species in Europe. We found that seawater temperature, food level, sea level atmospheric pressure, rainfall and wind speed were associated with mortality risk. Their effect on hatchery oysters was generally higher than on wild animals, probably reflecting that hatchery oysters were free of Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) whereas those from the wild were asymptomatic carriers. The risk factors involved in young and adult oyster mortalities were different, reflecting distinct diseases. Mortality risk increases from 0 to 90% with decreasing latitude for young hatchery oysters, but not for young wild oysters or adults. Mortality risk was higher in wild oysters than in hatchery ones at latitude > 47.6°N while this was the opposite at lower latitude. Therefore, latitudinal gradient alters disease-induced mortality risk but interacts with the initial health status of the host and the pathogen involved. Practically, we suggest that mortality can be mitigated by using hatchery oysters in north and wild collected oysters in the south.

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Fleury Elodie, Barbier Pierrick, Petton Bruno, Normand Julien, Thomas Yoann, Pouvreau Stephane, Daigle Gaétan, Pernet Fabrice (2020). Latitudinal drivers of oyster mortality: deciphering host, pathogen and environmental risk factors. Scientific Reports. 10 (1). 7264 (12p.).,

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