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The effect of selection treatments on Mytilus edulis, modifications of genetic and physiological characteristics
LeBlanc, N.; Tremblay, R.; Davidson, J.; Landry, T.; McNiven, M. (2008). The effect of selection treatments on Mytilus edulis, modifications of genetic and physiological characteristics. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(6): 1141-1152.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • LeBlanc, N.
  • Tremblay, R.
  • Davidson, J.
  • Landry, T.
  • McNiven, M.

    This study examined the effects of two selection treatments (elevated water temperature and air exposure) on the genetic and physiological characteristics of the juvenile marine mussel, Mytilus edulis (<10 mm). Genetic effects were measured on five allozymes and fitness assessed using physiological tests to estimate energy balance (scope for growth) as well as size, growth and survival. The in vitro treatments resulted in 48% mortality from an air exposure of 11 h at 27°C and 76% mortality from a 6-h exposure to 33°C water. Survivors (n = 1,152) of each treatment along with controls (n = 2,304) were measured and randomly placed in compartmentalized cages. Mussels were deployed to three bays in Prince Edward Island, Canada and monitored over a 10-month period. Initially, both of the treatments had an effect on mussel size and increased the heterozygosity of the surviving mussels. Physiological analyses after 3 months in the field showed that the two treated mussels showed lower metabolic rate that the control group. After 10 months in the field, the treated mussels were larger and had lower mortality than the untreated control mussels. Unexplained environmental interaction in each of the bays had an effect on allelic frequencies and heterozygosity. Overall, the results demonstrate that simple husbandry techniques can be used to increase the productivity of mussel seed and heterozygosity measures can be used to assess fitness. However, more field data is needed to determine the consistency of the increased productivity and if the increased productivity justifies the costs of a selective treatment. Furthermore, because the level of heterozygosity in juvenile mussel populations can vary considerably, both spatially and temporally, it may be effective as a warning of future natural mass mortality when overall heterozygosity levels are found to be low.

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