Assessment of swimming behavior of the Pacific oyster D-larvae (Crassostrea gigas) following exposure to model pollutants


This study describes an image analysis method that has been used to analyze the swimming behavior of native oyster D-larvae (Crassostrea gigas) from the Arcachon Bay (SW, France). In a second time, this study evaluated the impact of copper and S-metolachlor pollutants on D-larvae swimming activity and the possible relationship between developmental malformations and abnormal swimming behavior. Analyses in wild and cultivated oyster D-larvae were investigated during two breeding-seasons (2014 and 2015) at different sampling sites and dates. In controlled conditions, the average speed of larvae was 144 μm s−1 and the maximum speed was 297 μm s−1 while the trajectory is mainly rectilinear. In the presence of environmental concentration of copper or S-metolachlor, no significant difference in maximum or average larval speed was observed compared to the control condition but the percentage of circular trajectory increased significantly while the rectilinear swimming larvae significantly declined. The current study demonstrates that rectilinear trajectories are positively correlated to normal larvae while larvae with shell anomalies are positively correlated to circular trajectories. This abnormal behavior could affect the survival and spread of larvae, and consequently, the recruitment and colonization of new habitats.

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The authors thank the Aquitaine Region (OSQUAR Project), CPER A2E, Intermunicipal Union of Arcachon Bay (SIBA) and Water Agency Adour Garonne (AEAG) for their financial support. This work was part of the LABEX COTE cluster of excellence “Continental To coastal Ecosystems: evolution, adaptability and governance”. We thank James Emery for providing English proofreading.

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Correspondence to Jérôme Cachot.

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Gamain, P., Roméro-Ramirez, A., Gonzalez, P. et al. Assessment of swimming behavior of the Pacific oyster D-larvae (Crassostrea gigas) following exposure to model pollutants. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 3675–3685 (2020).

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  • Copper
  • Early life stage
  • Image analysis
  • Malformations
  • S-metolachlor
  • Speed
  • Trajectory