Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 6, pp 1141–1152 | Cite as

The effect of selection treatments on Mytilus edulis, modifications of genetic and physiological characteristics

  • Neil LeBlancEmail author
  • Réjean Tremblay
  • Jeff Davidson
  • Thomas Landry
  • Mary McNiven
Research Article


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.


Absorption Efficiency Fluctuate Asymmetry Mussel Population Routine Metabolic Rate Elevated Water Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to Garth Arsenault for his technical assistance as well as Stephen Stewart (Stewart Mussel farms), Bob Fortune (United Mussel Farms) and Russell Dockendorf (P.E.I. Mussel King) for their participation in the field study. This work was supported by the Prince Edward Island Aquaculture Alliance with funds from the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Initiative, the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil LeBlanc
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Réjean Tremblay
    • 2
  • Jeff Davidson
    • 1
  • Thomas Landry
    • 3
  • Mary McNiven
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary CollegeUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  2. 2.Institut des sciences de la merUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada
  3. 3.Mollusc Section, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Science BranchGulf Fisheries CentreMonctonCanada
  4. 4.Joint Research and Development Division, Departments of VirologyThe National Veterinary Institute (SVA) and The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)UppsalaSweden

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