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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 155:59-71 (2023)  -  DOI:

Limited impact of a bioeroding sponge, Cliona sp., on Ostrea chilensis from Foveaux Strait, New Zealand

Imke M. Böök1,*, Keith P. Michael2, Henry S. Lane2, Christopher E. Cornwall1, James J. Bell1, Nicole E. Phillips1

1School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington 6241, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bioeroding sponges can cause extensive damage to aquaculture and wild shellfish fisheries. It has been suggested that heavy sponge infestations that reach the inner cavity of oysters may trigger shell repair and lead to adductor detachment. Consequently, energy provision into shell repair could reduce the energy available for other physiological processes and reduce the meat quality of commercially fished oysters. Nevertheless, the impacts of boring sponges on oysters and other shellfish hosts are inconclusive. We studied the interaction between boring sponges and their hosts and examined potential detrimental effects on an economically important oyster species Ostrea chilensis from Foveaux Strait (FS), New Zealand. We investigated the effect of different infestation levels with the bioeroding sponge Cliona sp. on commercial meat quality, condition, reproduction, and disease susceptibility. Meat quality was assessed with an index based on visual assessments used in the FS O. chilensis fishery. Meat condition was assessed with a common oyster condition index, while histological methods were used to assess sex, gonad stage, reproductive capacity, and pathogen presence. Commercial meat quality and condition of O. chilensis were unaffected by sponge infestation. There was no relationship between sex ratio, gonad developmental stage, or gonad index and sponge infestation. Lastly, we found no evidence that sponge infestation affects disease susceptibility in O. chilensis. Our results suggest that O. chilensis in FS is largely unaffected by infestation with Cliona sp. and therefore reinforces the growing body of evidence that the effects of sponge infestation can be highly variable among different host species, environments, and habitats.

KEY WORDS: Boring sponge · Flat oyster · Host-parasite interaction · Shellfish diseases · Reproduction · Cliona sp. · Ostrea chilensis

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Cite this article as: Böök IM, Michael KP, Lane HS, Cornwall CE, Bell JJ, Phillips NE (2023) Limited impact of a bioeroding sponge, Cliona sp., on Ostrea chilensis from Foveaux Strait, New Zealand. Dis Aquat Org 155:59-71.

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