Marine Biology

, 166:48 | Cite as

New insights into oyster high-resolution hinge growth patterns

  • Damien Huyghe
  • Marc de Rafelis
  • Michel Ropert
  • Vincent Mouchi
  • Laurent Emmanuel
  • Maurice Renard
  • Franck LartaudEmail author
Original paper


While oyster shells are one of the most common mollusks used for the analysis of (paleo)environmental and (paleo)climatic records based on geochemical proxies, high-resolution growth rate changes still need to be determined. Promising previous works are restricted to small portions of shell sections due to difficulties in continuous growth increment revelation. Based on a mark and recapture experiment of Magallana gigas specimens reared in an intertidal area of Normandy (France) for 22 months, and a sclerochronological approach using cathodoluminescence microscopy, this study provides the longest high-resolution record of growth increments in oyster shells to date. Different growth patterns were identified likely related to the oyster age. After age 1 year, the formation of growth increments follows an expected tide-related model, leading to the mineralization of ~ 2 calcitic increments per day, together with growth rate changes at lunar and semi-lunar periodicities, and a seasonal trend with occasional growth breaks during winter when temperatures fall below ~ 6 °C. However, for oysters younger than 1 year, i.e., before reaching their sexual maturity, the growth increment analysis reveals unconventional patterns. In this case, oysters’ growth is associated with either a large number (~ 5) or less than one increment per day depending on the period. This pattern is also associated with frequent growth cessations, although the growth rate of the shell is high at this period. Our results illustrate that the high-resolution sclerochronological approach is required for accurate paleoenvironmental reconstructions based on oyster shells.



This work was financially supported by the ANR Amor ‘Data Model Reconstruction of the Cenozoic Climate’ and the BQR project from Sorbonne Université, ‘High frequency to very high frequency recordings of environmental changes to climate by biomineralization.’ Special thanks may be due to Brian Mitchell for improving the English of the manuscript. Thoughtful comments by Editor A. Checa and two anonymous reviewers helped to improve the original version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (xlsx 231 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (xlsx 24 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (xlsx 116 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Ecogéochimie des Environnements Benthiques, LECOB, Observatroire Océanologique de BanyulsBanyuls-sur-MerFrance
  2. 2.Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, CNRS, IRDUniversité Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3ToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Centre de Géosciences, MINES ParisTechPSL UniversityFontainebleauFrance
  4. 4.IfremerLaboratoire Environnement Ressource de NormandiePort-en-BessinFrance
  5. 5.Sorbonne Université, CNRS-INSU, Institut des Sciences de la Terre Paris, ISTePParisFrance

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