RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LARVAL MORPHOMETRICS AND SETTING EFFICIENCY IN THE EASTERN OYSTER, CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA
Vlahovich, Emily Ann
Meritt, Donald W
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In oyster hatcheries, the decision to move larvae from rearing tanks to setting tanks is based on physical and behavioral characteristics. These criteria can suggest conflicting action and a more reliable method may result in higher spat production. I observed hatchery reared <italic>Crassostrea virginica</italic> larvae, beginning with larvae retained on a 200 µm sieve. Aliquots of larvae were measured or placed in a setting vessel, and the remaining were returned to the culture cone daily. Each day had an associated setting efficiency, loss, and set of larval morphometrics, including shell height and length and eyespot diameter. Day was most strongly correlated with setting efficiency. Eyespot diameter was moderately correlated with setting efficiency, and shell morphometrics were weakly correlated with setting efficiency. I estimated daily spat production, which peaked on day 2. These results suggest spat production may be increased by altering current hatchery methods to consider eyespot diameter or days past retention on a 200 µm sieve when deciding to place larvae in setting tanks.