Physiological basis of extreme growth rate differences in the spat of oyster (Crassostrea gigas)
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Juvenile oysters (Crassostrea gigas) (produced in November 2009) reared under uniform hatchery conditions for 4 months were selected for extreme growth rate differences by repeatedly taking larger and smaller individuals to achieve weight differences >30× between fast (F) and slow (S) growers. The physiological basis of differential growth was analyzed in experiments in June 2010, where components of energy gain (clearance and ingestion rates and absorption efficiency), energy loss (metabolic rates) and resulting scope for growth (J h−1) were compared for groups of F and S oysters fed three different ration levels (≈0.5, 1.5 and 3.0 mg of total particulate matter L−1). In both F and S oysters, a higher food ration promoted asymptotic increases in energy gain rates through regulatory adjustments to clearance rates, which maintained similar absorption efficiencies across the food concentrations. No significant differences were found between growth groups in mass-specific physiological rates (i.e., per unit of body mass). However, the scaling of these rates to a common size in both groups using allometric coefficients derived for C. gigas revealed higher energy gain rates coupled with lower metabolic costs of growth in fast growers. Thus, appropriate size-standardization is essential in accounting for observed differences in growth rate. Present results are in accordance with previous reports on other bivalve species on the physiological processes underlying endogenous growth differences, suggesting that the same interpretation can be applied to the extremes of these differences.
KeywordsClearance Rate Particulate Organic Carbon Absorption Efficiency Food Ration Isochrysis
This study was funded through the project AGL2009-09981 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. D.T. was funded by a FPI grant from the Basque Government. Thanks are given to Juan Cigarría (Tinamenor S.L.) for providing selected specimens of oysters. Technical and human support provided by SGIker (UPV/EHU), MICINN, GV/EJ, ERDF and ESF is gratefully acknowledged. Comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers have greatly improved the manuscript.
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