Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The tolerance of Crassostrea virginica larvae to anoxia increases with developmental stage and body size. Median mortality times range from 11 h for prodissoconch larvae of 82 micro m (shell length) to 51 h for pediveliger larvae of 3 12 micro m, and 150 h for juvenile oysters. Simultaneous calorimetry and respirometry showed that in response to declining oxygen tension (P02), the rates of heat dissipation and oxygen uptake by oyster larvae are maintained independent of PO2 down to low Pc values (2 kPa for prodissoconch larvae and 8 kPa for pediveliger and juveniles). Therefore, total energy metabolism is sustained mainly by aerobic metabolism down to 2 and 4 kPa for early larval stages and juveniles, respectively. Prodissoconch larvae maintain relatively high rates of heat dissipation under anoxic conditions (34% of normoxic rate), whereas pediveliger and juveniles lower their anoxic rates of heat dissipation to 3% of the normoxic rate. The ability to reduce rates of heat dissipation and thus conserve energy expenditure under anoxia appears to be related to the increase in anoxia tolerance with larval development. The larval differences in the relationship between PO2 and the rate of heat dissipation are also reflected in feeding rate (ingestion rate of microspheres). Prodissoconch larvae maintain feeding activity under anoxic conditions (29% of normoxic ingestion rate), in contrast to pediveigerlarvae, which lower ingestion rates to 5% of the normoxic rate.
Widdows, J; Newell, RIE; and Mann, Roger L., Effects of Hypoxia and Anoxia on Survival, Energy Metabolism, and Feeding of Oyster Larvae (Crassostrea virginica, Gmelin) (1989). Biological Bulletin, 177(1), 154-166.