AEI 5:209-219 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00107

Influence of farmed pearl oysters and associated biofouling communities on nutrient regeneration in lagoons of French Polynesia

Elise Lacoste1, Yannick Gueguen2, Gilles Le Moullac2, Manaarii Sham Koua2, Nabila Gaertner-Mazouni1,*

1Université de la Polynésie Française, Ecosystèmes Insulaires Océaniens, UMR 241, BP 6570, 98702 Faa’a, Tahiti, French Polynesia
2Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Ecosystèmes Insulaires Océaniens, UMR 241, BP 7004, Taravao 98719, French Polynesia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bivalve cultivation can significantly contribute to nutrient cycling in semi-enclosed ecosystems. We investigated the influence of suspended pearl oyster culture on nutrient regeneration in the water column of 3 oligotrophic lagoons in French Polynesia. The aim of this first study performed in a tropical area was to assess the seasonal variability of nutrient fluxes and to quantify the contribution of biofouling communities. In situ metabolic enclosure systems were used to measure nutrient uptake or release by ‘cultivation units’ (i.e. 4 pearl oysters with or without associated biofouling). In all 3 study lagoons (Tahiti, Mangareva, Ahe), nutrient fluxes produced by pearl oyster and associated biofouling communities (CR units) were 4- to 6-fold higher than those measured for cleaned pearl oysters. CR units can release dissolved inorganic nitrogen and soluble reactive phosphorus in the water column at a rate of 200 and 50 µmol h-1, respectively. Trophic level and composition of biofouling communities may explain the variations of fluxes observed between the different islands. At the pearl farm scale (Ahe), pearl oyster long-lines may supply 70% of the inorganic nitrogen demand for primary production, with biofouling communities accounting for 60% of the total nutrient release. Pearl oyster culture enhances nutrient availability and alters stoichiometry, which can strongly modify the dynamics of the planktonic ecosystem.


KEY WORDS: Pearl oysters · Biofouling · Nutrient flux · Aquaculture impact


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Cite this article as: Lacoste E, Gueguen Y, Le Moullac G, Koua MS, Gaertner-Mazouni N (2014) Influence of farmed pearl oysters and associated biofouling communities on nutrient regeneration in lagoons of French Polynesia. Aquacult Environ Interact 5:209-219. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00107

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