Are bivalves susceptible to domestication selection? Using starvation tolerance to test for potential trait changes in eastern oyster larvae
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Are bivalves susceptible to domestication selection? Using starvation tolerance to test for potential trait changes in eastern oyster larvae

Filetype[PDF-1.70 MB]


  • Journal Title:
    PLoS ONE
  • Description:
    Conservation efforts are increasingly being challenged by a rapidly changing environment, and for some aquatic species the use of captive rearing or selective breeding is an attractive option. However, captivity itself can impose unintended artificial selection known as domestication selection (adaptation to culture conditions) and is relatively understudied for most marine species. To test for domestication selection in marine bivalves, we focused on a fitness-related trait (larval starvation resistance) that could be altered under artificial selection. Using larvae produced from a wild population of Crassostrea virginica and a selectively bred, disease-resistant line we measured growth and survival during starvation versus standard algal diet conditions. Larvae from both lineages showed a remarkable resilience to food limitation, possibly mediated by an ability to utilize dissolved organic matter for somatic maintenance. Water chemistry analysis showed dissolved organic carbon in filtered tank water to be at concentrations similar to natural river water. We observed that survival in larvae produced from the aquaculture line was significantly lower compared to larvae produced from wild broodstock (8 ± 3% and 21 ± 2%, respectively) near the end of a 10-day period with no food (phytoplankton). All larval cohorts had arrested growth and depressed respiration during the starvation period and took at least two days to recover once food was reintroduced before resuming growth. Respiration rate recovered rapidly and final shell length was similar between the two treatments Phenotypic differences between the wild and aquaculture lines suggest potential differences in the capacity to sustain extended food limitation, but this work requires replication with multiple selection lines and wild populations to make more general inferences about domestication selection. With this contribution we explore the potential for domestication selection in bivalves, discuss the physiological and fitness implications of reduced starvation tolerance, and aim to inspire further research on the topic.
  • Source:
    PLoS ONE 15(6) 1-20
  • Pubmed Central ID:
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  • Rights Information:
    CC0 1.0
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