Conservation and restoration of a keystone species : understanding the settlement preferences of the European oyster (Ostrea edulis)
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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 conservation 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 settlement occurred with the presence of conspecifics: 100% settled in <23 h. Marine stones with habitat-associated 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.
Rodriguez-Perez , A , James , M , Donnan , D W , Henry , T B , Møller , L F & Sanderson , W G 2019 , ' Conservation and restoration of a keystone species : understanding the settlement preferences of the European oyster ( Ostrea edulis ) ' Marine Pollution Bulletin , vol. 138 , pp. 312-321 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.11.032
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY-NC-ND/4.0/).
DescriptionThe project was funded by the Nesbit Cleland Trust (St Abbs Marine Station), Royal Haskoning DHV and Scottish Natural Heritage with additional support from the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP: a partnership between Heriot-Watt University, the Marine Conservation Society and the Glenmorangie Whisky Company: A15R10520) and the MASTS pooling initiative (the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland) funded by the Scottish Funding Council, United Kingdom (grant reference HR09011). Additional funding was provided by a MASTS PECRE grant. The authors wish to thank the staff of the Danish Shellfish Centre for their kind support.
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