Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 89–99 | Cite as

Looking for the clock mechanism responsible for circatidal behavior in the oyster Crassostrea gigas

  • Audrey M. Mat
  • Jean-Charles Massabuau
  • Pierre Ciret
  • Damien TranEmail author
Original Paper


Valve activity rhythm of the oyster Crassostrea gigas is mainly driven by tides in the field, but in the laboratory, only a circadian clock mechanism has been demonstrated. In an attempt to reconcile these results, the mechanisms underlying the circatidal rhythm were studied in the laboratory under different entrainment or free-running regimes and in the field at Arcachon (44°39′N/1°09′W) in February–April 2011). Results confirm the existence of a circadian clock in C. gigas. Under entrainment regimes (12-h dark/12-h light photoperiod and tidal cycles simulated by a reversing current flow), oysters exhibited both circadian and circatidal cycles. Under free-running conditions (e.g., continuous darkness), the endogenous rhythm appeared to be circadian. There was no experimental evidence for an endogenous circatidal rhythm, even in oysters just transferred from the field, where a clear tidal cycle was expressed. There are two possible mechanisms to explain tidal behavior in C. gigas: an exogenous tidal cue that drives tidal activity and masks the circadian rhythm and an endogenous circatidal clock that is sensitive to tidal zeitgebers and runs at tidal frequency.


Circadian Rhythm Circadian Clock Tidal Cycle Circadian Oscillator Tidal Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by a ministerial scholarship to A.M. and the projects EC2CO-Cytrix and OSQUAR, Région Aquitaine. The authors thank Dr. Katherine Flynn for editing and English corrections.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audrey M. Mat
    • 1
  • Jean-Charles Massabuau
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pierre Ciret
    • 1
    • 2
  • Damien Tran
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Université BordeauxArcachonFrance
  2. 2.CNRSArcachonFrance

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