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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 594:107-117 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12511

Genetic variation in anti-parasite behavior in oysters

Tal Ben-Horin1,2, Standish K. Allen Jr.3, Jessica M. Small3, Dina A. Proestou1,*

1National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center, United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
2Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
3Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA 23062, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Behavioral avoidance of disease-causing parasites provides a first line of defense against the threat of infection. We report that the suspension-feeding oysters Crassostrea virginica respond to the presence of the water-borne parasite Perkinsus marinus by increasing the rate of shell closure and decreasing the clearance of suspended particles from the surrounding seawater. The extent of feeding behavior modification varied among selectively bred oyster families, indicating genetic variation in this trait. Oyster families susceptible to P. marinus infection were less likely to modify their feeding behavior when this parasite was present, if at all. Characterizing the role of anti-parasite behavior in minimizing P. marinus proliferation in oysters and the implications of variability among individuals will refine our understanding of mechanisms of disease resistance in suspension-feeding bivalves.


KEY WORDS: Anti-parasite behavior · Avoidance · Disease · Suspension feeding · Oysters


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Cite this article as: Ben-Horin T, Allen SK Jr, Small JM, Proestou DA (2018) Genetic variation in anti-parasite behavior in oysters. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 594:107-117. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12511

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