Conservation Genetics

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 717–734 | Cite as

A genetic test for recruitment enhancement in Chesapeake Bay oysters, Crassostrea virginica, after population supplementation with a disease tolerant strain

  • Matthew P. HareEmail author
  • Standish K. AllenJr.
  • Paulette Bloomer
  • Mark D. Camara
  • Ryan B. Carnegie
  • Jenna Murfree
  • Mark Luckenbach
  • Donald Meritt
  • Cheryl Morrison
  • Kennedy Paynter
  • Kimberly S. Reece
  • Colin G. Rose


Many of the methods currently employed to restore Chesapeake Bay populations of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, assume closed recruitment in certain sub-estuaries despite planktonic larval durations of 2–3 weeks. In addition, to combat parasitic disease, artificially selected disease tolerant oyster strains are being used for population supplementation. It has been impossible to fully evaluate these unconventional tactics because offspring from wild and selected broodstock are phenotypically indistinguishable. This study provides the first direct measurement of oyster recruitment enhancement by using genetic assignment tests to discriminate locally produced progeny of a selected oyster strain from progeny of wild parents. Artificially selected oysters (DEBY strain) were planted on a single reef in each of two Chesapeake Bay tributaries in 2002, but only in the Great Wicomico River (GWR) were they large enough to potentially reproduce the same year. Assignment tests based on eight microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA markers were applied to 1579 juvenile oysters collected throughout the GWR during the summer of 2002. Only one juvenile oyster was positively identified as an offspring of the 0.75 million DEBY oysters that were planted in the GWR, but 153 individuals (9.7%) had DEBY ×wild F1 multilocus genotypes. Because oyster recruitment was high across the region in 2002, the proportionately low enhancement measured in the GWR would not otherwise have been recognized. Possible causes for low enhancement success are discussed, each bearing on untested assumptions underlying the restoration methods, and all arguing for more intensive evaluation of each component of the restoration strategy.


assignment test Great Wicomico River F1 hybrid population enhancement restoration 


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We are indebted to the cooperative efforts of several oyster restoration organizations and individuals that facilitated this research. In Maryland, construction of the artificial oyster reef and planting of DEBY oysters was done by the Oyster Recovery Partnership at the direction of Charlie Frentz. We␣appreciate help with spat collections by Cori Milbury, Stephanie Tobash, Horn Point hatchery interns and the Hare lab. In Virginia, coordination with restoration activities was achieved with the help of Rob Brumbaugh and Tommy Leggett of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation who oversaw nursery culture and planting of DEBYs in the GWR. We thank P.G. Ross, Jr., Alan Birch, Joshua Smith, Julie Stubbs and Gail Scott for help with spat collection and processing. Helpful comments have been provided by H. Wang, R. Mann, J. Harding, M. Southworth, W. Delport and members of the Hare lab. This work was funded by the Oyster Disease Research Program of NOAA/Sea Grant. VIMS contribution 2710.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew P. Hare
    • 1
    Email author
  • Standish K. AllenJr.
    • 2
  • Paulette Bloomer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mark D. Camara
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ryan B. Carnegie
    • 2
  • Jenna Murfree
    • 1
  • Mark Luckenbach
    • 5
  • Donald Meritt
    • 6
  • Cheryl Morrison
    • 2
    • 7
  • Kennedy Paynter
    • 1
  • Kimberly S. Reece
    • 2
  • Colin G. Rose
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and MaryGloucester PointUSA
  3. 3.Molecular Ecology and Evolution Programme, Department of GeneticsUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Hatfield Marine Science CenterOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  5. 5.Eastern Shore LaboratoryVirginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and MaryWachapreagueUSA
  6. 6.Horn Point LaboratoryUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceCambridgeUSA
  7. 7.US Geological Survey, Biological Resources DivisionLeetown Science Center, Aquatic Ecology BranchKearneysvilleUSA

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