Conservation and restoration of a keystone species: Understanding the settlement preferences of the European oyster (Ostrea edulis)

Ana Rodriguez Perez, Mark James, David W. Donnan, Theodore B. Henry, Lene Møller, William Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The European oyster Ostrea edulis is a keystone species that is internationally recognised as ‘threatened and declining’ in the NE Atlantic by OSPAR and several nations have consequently adopted strategies for its con- servation and restoration. Understanding the settlement behaviour of O. edulis larvae is crucial to inform these strategies. We compared the efficiency of several treatments in triggering settlement. The most effective set- tlement occurred with the presence of conspecifics: 100% settled in < 23 h. Marine stones with habitat-asso- ciated biofilms induced 81% settlement that started after a 45 h delay. Sterile shells and terrestrial stones did not induce more settlement than control treatments. These results indicate that O. edulis larvae are gregarious and finely-tuned to settle in response to cues which are indicative of their adult habitat requirements. The role of chemical cues in mediating settlement, and the importance of this to restoration, are discussed.
LanguageEnglish
Pages312-321
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume138
Early online date27 Nov 2018
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019

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keystone species
larva
chemical cue
habitat
biofilm
shell
stone
restoration

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title = "Conservation and restoration of a keystone species: Understanding the settlement preferences of the European oyster (Ostrea edulis)",
abstract = "The European oyster Ostrea edulis is a keystone species that is internationally recognised as ‘threatened and declining’ in the NE Atlantic by OSPAR and several nations have consequently adopted strategies for its con- servation and restoration. Understanding the settlement behaviour of O. edulis larvae is crucial to inform these strategies. We compared the efficiency of several treatments in triggering settlement. The most effective set- tlement occurred with the presence of conspecifics: 100{\%} settled in < 23 h. Marine stones with habitat-asso- ciated biofilms induced 81{\%} settlement that started after a 45 h delay. Sterile shells and terrestrial stones did not induce more settlement than control treatments. These results indicate that O. edulis larvae are gregarious and finely-tuned to settle in response to cues which are indicative of their adult habitat requirements. The role of chemical cues in mediating settlement, and the importance of this to restoration, are discussed.",
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Conservation and restoration of a keystone species: Understanding the settlement preferences of the European oyster (Ostrea edulis). / Rodriguez Perez, Ana; James, Mark; Donnan, David W.; Henry, Theodore B.; Møller, Lene; Sanderson, William.

In: Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 138, 01.2019, p. 312-321.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - The European oyster Ostrea edulis is a keystone species that is internationally recognised as ‘threatened and declining’ in the NE Atlantic by OSPAR and several nations have consequently adopted strategies for its con- servation and restoration. Understanding the settlement behaviour of O. edulis larvae is crucial to inform these strategies. We compared the efficiency of several treatments in triggering settlement. The most effective set- tlement occurred with the presence of conspecifics: 100% settled in < 23 h. Marine stones with habitat-asso- ciated biofilms induced 81% settlement that started after a 45 h delay. Sterile shells and terrestrial stones did not induce more settlement than control treatments. These results indicate that O. edulis larvae are gregarious and finely-tuned to settle in response to cues which are indicative of their adult habitat requirements. The role of chemical cues in mediating settlement, and the importance of this to restoration, are discussed.

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