Fluctuating asymmetry and mortality in cultured oysters (
Japanese cupped oysters suffer summer mortality in many culture sites along the French Atlantic coast. To ascertain whether mortality might be associated with morphological features of the shells, we estimated fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of hatchery/nursery-produced oysters kept in culture bags in the intertidal. FA is defined as random variations from a perfect symmetry plane (bilateral or radial) in some morphological trait. FA increases with disruption of homeostasy during ontogeny and has both genetic and environmental determinants. We found significant differences in FA between dead and live oysters in two of our three study groups. Therefore, lack of developmental stability may be involved in the summer mortality syndrome of oysters. We also found indirect evidence that once acquired, FA patterns of shells are retained at least partially. Since FA likely appears early during ontogeny and is recorded in the shells, we hypothesise that it might be useful for forecasting the ability of spat to resist environmental stress.
Auteurs du document :
Marcel Fréchette, Philippe Goulletquer, Gaétan Daigle