Hybrid abalone are more robust to multi-stressor environments than pure parental species
Alter, K and Andrewartha, SJ and Morash, AJ and Clark, TD and Hellicar, AD and Leon, RI and Elliott, NG, Hybrid abalone are more robust to multi-stressor environments than pure parental species, Aquaculture, 478 pp. 25-34. ISSN 0044-8486 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Many hybrids of marine molluscs show improved growth in comparison to their pure parental species. Yet, little is known about the physiological mechanisms underlying the better hybrid performance. In this study, movement, oxygen consumption rate (), and heart rate were determined in 22 month old cultured abalone Haliotis rubra, H. laevigata and their interspecies hybrid, the latter of which exhibits improved growth rate. Abalone were exposed to an acute temperature increase following acclimation to 16 or 23 °C at high and low oxygen levels (100% or 70% air saturation, respectively). Movement of hybrids and H. laevigata was generally not affected by temperature and oxygen levels, yet H. rubra showed a strong thermal response. Heart rate and /temperature slopes revealed that hybrids were least affected by oxygen levels. Arrhenius break-point temperatures of hybrids and H. laevigata, but not H. rubra, were generally higher when abalone were acclimated to 23 °C in comparison to 16 °C. The hybrid had more stable maximum heart rate and values across acclimation conditions in comparison to H. laevigata and H. rubra. Thus, it appears that hybrids are able to maintain physiological functions over a broader environmental range. This improved tolerance to environmental fluctuations may bolster energy metabolism and improve growth in variable environments such as aquaculture farms.