Impact of pCO2 on the energy, reproduction and growth of the shell of the pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera

The possible consequences of acidification on pearl farming are disruption of oyster metabolism and change in growth. In the laboratory, we studied the impact of pCO2 (3540, 1338 and 541μatm) on the physiology of pearl oysters exposed for 100 days. This experiment was repeated after an interval of one year. Several physiological compartments were examined in pearl oysters: the scope for growth by measuring ingestion, assimilation and oxygen consumption, gametogenesis by means of histological observations, shell growth by measurement and observation by optical and electronic microscopy, and at molecular level by measuring the expression of nine genes of mantle cells implied in the biomineralisation process. Results from both experiments showed that high pCO2 had no effect on scope for growth and gametogenesis. High pCO2 (3540 μatm) significantly slowed down the shell deposit rate at the ventral side and SEM observations of the inside of the shell found signs of chemical dissolution. Of the nine examined genes high pCO2significantly decreased the expression level of one gene (Pmarg-PUSP 6). This study showed that shell growth of the pearl oyster would be slowed down without threatening the species since the management of energy and reproduction functions appeared to be preserved. Further investigations should be conducted on the response of offspring to acidification.

Le Moullac G., Soyez C., Vidal-Dupiol J., Belliard C., Fievet J., Sham Koua M., Lo-Yat A., Saulnier D., Gaertner-Mazouni N. & Gueguen Y., in press. Impact of pCO2 on the energy, reproduction and growth of the shell of the pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Article (subscription required).


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