ABSTRACT: Pearl culture industry represents one of the dominant business sector of French Polynesia. However, it still entirely relies on unpredictable spat collection success. Our aim was to assess the influence of natural plankton concentration fluctuations on maturation and spawning of the black lip pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera, during a 4 months survey conducted in Ahe atoll lagoon. Plankton concentration was assessed by chlorophyll a extraction and by microscope counts while gonadic index, gonado-visceral dry weights and histology were used to measure pearl oysters reproduction activity. We found that (i) plankton concentration fluctuations were mainly related to wind regime, (ii) gametogenesis rate was mainly related to plankton concentration, (iii) spawning occurred when maximal gonad storage was reached, (iv) plankton concentration was the main spawning synchronizing factor. These results contribute explaining P. margaritifera spat collection variability in French Polynesian atoll lagoon.
Marine pollution bulletin 05/2012; 65(10-12):463-70. · 2.63 Impact Factor