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Relationships between growth, survival, physiology and behaviour — A multi-criteria approach to Haliotis tuberculata phenotypic traits

Lachambre, Sébastien, Huchette, Sylvain, Day, Rob, Boudry, Pierre, Rio-Cabello, Antoine, Fustec, Timothée, Roussel, Sabine
Aquaculture 2017 v.467 pp. 190-197
Haliotis tuberculata, abalone, adults, adverse effects, aquaculture, domestication, evolution, farms, homeostasis, immunity, industry, phenotype, rearing, selection methods, summer, weight gain, winter
Abalone growth rate is often identified among important traits to improve through selective breeding. However, the rapid success of some selective breeding plans has sometimes led to negative effects in some aquaculture species due to trade-offs. One of them is the loss of homeostasis of selected animals which results in the inability to resist the stress experienced during the rearing process. In this context, this study aimed to analyze the phenotypic relationships between growth, and physiological and behavioural traits in Haliotis tuberculata under stressful conditions. Eleven traits related to growth, immunity, reproduction and behaviour were recorded under laboratory conditions. A total of 120 adults from wild or farm origin were first monitored during a 3-week stress period (high density and acute stress handling) during winter, followed by 6months on-growing in sea-cages. Relationships between parameters were analyzed using a multi-factorial approach. Wild and farm stocks could only be discriminated on behaviour traits, confirming that the French abalone industry is in the beginning of the domestication process. After 3weeks of chronic stress, the righting latency of an abalone was linked to better survival and faster growth. Abalones having the best growth after 6months were characterized by higher activity during the previous winter period, whereas an early gonad maturation reduced the growth in summer. Our results provide a basis for the establishment of a multi-trait breeding program to improve the growth rate while controlling the evolution of physiological and behavioural traits.The relationships of behavioural and physiological variables with survival and weight gain after application of important stressors were studied in order to provide a better understanding of Haliotis tuberculata biology during early domestication stage. This paper will give information on new targets and tools for selective breeding.