Effects of stock origin on the growth and survival of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in southeastern North Carolina

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah E. Smeilus (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/

Abstract: The use of live oysters (Crassostrea virginica) for water quality mitigation and for oyster reef restoration has received considerable attention in the past decade. Oysters for such management efforts are routinely purchased from hatcheries or relocated from natural reefs with little consideration for the possibility that the oysters may exhibit local adaptation to the environmental conditions of their natal site. Local adaptation might influence oyster growth and survival following transplant, thus potentially reducing the benefits of these management approaches. This study examined oysters from two tidal creeks (Bradley Creek and Pages Creek) in New Hanover County, North Carolina, for evidence of local adaptation using reciprocal transplant and common garden strategies. Reciprocal transplants were conducted with growth and survival of oysters monitored for 3 months in the late summer (Transplant 1) and 8 months covering the fall and winter (Transplant 2). Stock origin had a significant effect on growth. The Bradley Creek stock had better relative growth than the Pages Creek stock in Transplant 2, regardless of site (Transplant 1 data did not exhibit any clear trends in growth). The Bradley Creek stock also had better overall survival rates than the Pages Creek stock in both transplants (Bradley: 49%, 48%; Pages: 34%, 30%). In both transplants, the Bradley Creek stock had higher survival at all three sites, including the common garden. Environment also had a significant effect on growth and survival and effected stocks similarly. Both stocks performed best in the same site, but that site differed between transplants. Growth and survival were highest for both stocks in Bradley Creek in Transplant 1, and were highest for both stocks in the common garden in Transplant 2. Each stock’s performance was site dependent. However, the two stocks performed very differently from each other within each site, suggesting local adaptation (phenotypic differentiation that persists after common environmental conditions), likely a result of selective mortality. This study indicates that the source of brood stock for restoration or water quality mitigation may have significant impacts on project success.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Crassostrea, Oyster culture--North Carolina--Pages Creek, Oysters--Effect of habitat modification on, American oyster, Oyster culture--North Carolina--Bradley Creek, Oyster populations--Effect of habitat modification on
Oysters -- Effect of habitat modification on
Oyster populations -- Effect of habitat modification on
Oyster culture -- North Carolina -- Bradley Creek
Oyster culture -- North Carolina -- Pages Creek
American oyster

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