While the stock of introduced Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) increased in the Oosterschelde estuary (SW Netherlands), so did the filtration pressure of all bivalve species together. In the same period, stocks of native bivalves declined slightly. The expansion of Pacific oysters in Dutch estuaries might be partially due to better abilities of their larvae to avoid or escape filtration, compared to larvae of native bivalves. In this context, escape and swimming abilities of Pacific oyster larvae and the larvae of the native blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) were compared. Swimming behaviour of C. gigas larvae and larvae of M. edulis was recorded in still water and in a suction current mimicking a bivalve feeding current, in a horizontal and in a vertical plane. Larval swimming behaviour in a suction flow field was reconstructed by subtracting local water movement vectors from the total movement of larvae, yielding movement paths due to larval swimming alone. Swimming speeds and the rate of displacement in vertical direction of C. gigas and M. edulis larvae were related to larval shell length, and to the pitch of up- or downward swimming. Larvae of both species did not show escape reactions in a suction flow field. With increasing shell length, larval swimming speeds of both species increased significantly. Swimming speeds of C. gigas larvae were significantly higher than swimming speeds of M. edulis larvae, resulting in a faster vertical displacement. The ability to migrate to more favourable water layers faster may offer C. gigas an advantage over native bivalves with slower swimming larvae.
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
- marine invertebrate larvae
- particle image velocimetry
- swimming behavior
- copepod nauplii
- mussel larvae