Applicability of the gape monitor to study flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) feeding behaviour

Innovative techniques are needed to assess oyster performance in flat oyster reef restoration projects. A valve gape monitor, a device that continuously measures opening and closing of live bivalves, can potentially be used as an effective method to determine survival and behaviour of the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis. The method has been successfully used in combination with a number of bivalve species to investigate valve gape activity in response to environmental factors.

In this study, eight O. edulis were equipped with valve gape sensors in order to relate gape to environmental conditions such as food availability. Valve gape activity was monitored under controlled laboratory conditions, with and without food, in a concrete basin in the Oosterschelde and in the field (Voordelta, Dutch North Sea). Under controlled laboratory conditions, oysters clearly responded to changes in food availability. Starved  oysters closed their valves significantly longer than oysters that received food, and the relative gape width in fed oysters were larger. In the concrete basin (Oosterschelde), a positive correlation between valve opening and Chlorophyll-a was found. Additionally, valve gape activity and tidal movement appeared to be linked. When exposed to a full tidal cycle (Voordelta), a negative correlation between valve opening and Chlorophyll-a was found. However, there was no correlation between valve gape and current velocity. In autumn, longer periods of inactivity were seen, but when valves opened, the valve gape was larger. These data indicate that valve gape can provide valuable information on behaviour (gape frequency and gape width), but also show that it is not necessarily a good proxy for feeding rate. Nevertheless, these results show that the gape monitor can be used to determine the natural behaviour of flat oysters under field conditions, and that gape opening provides information on behaviour and the stress response of bivalves to environmental conditions. 

Innovative techniques are needed to assess oyster performance in flat oyster reef restoration projects. A valve gape monitor, a device that continuously measures opening and closing of live bivalves, can potentially be used as an effective method to determine survival and behaviour of the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis. The method has been successfully used in combination with a number of bivalve species to investigate valve gape activity in response to environmental factors.

In this study, eight O. edulis were equipped with valve gape sensors in order to relate gape to environmental conditions such as food availability. Valve gape activity was monitored under controlled laboratory conditions, with and without food, in a concrete basin in the Oosterschelde and in the field (Voordelta, Dutch North Sea). Under controlled laboratory conditions, oysters clearly responded to changes in food availability. Starved  oysters closed their valves significantly longer than oysters that received food, and the relative gape width in fed oysters were larger. In the concrete basin (Oosterschelde), a positive correlation between valve opening and Chlorophyll-a was found. Additionally, valve gape activity and tidal movement appeared to be linked. When exposed to a full tidal cycle (Voordelta), a negative correlation between valve opening and Chlorophyll-a was found. However, there was no correlation between valve gape and current velocity. In autumn, longer periods of inactivity were seen, but when valves opened, the valve gape was larger. These data indicate that valve gape can provide valuable information on behaviour (gape frequency and gape width), but also show that it is not necessarily a good proxy for feeding rate. Nevertheless, these results show that the gape monitor can be used to determine the natural behaviour of flat oysters under field conditions, and that gape opening provides information on behaviour and the stress response of bivalves to environmental conditions. 

Disciplines

Biological oceanography

Keywords

Ostrea edulis, oyster reef restoration, North Sea, valve gape monitor, Voordelta

Location

51.791249N, 51.418695S, 4.149514E, 3.760598W

Devices

Scripts:

klepstand_betonbak.R – script to process raw data from the betonbak experiment

Klepstand_fed_starved_experiment.R – script to process the raw data from the feeding/starvation lab experiment

klepstand_Voordelta_experiment.R – script to process the raw data from the Voordelta (spring/autumn) experiment

Klepstand_final_data_processing.R – script to further process the post-processed data files

Klepstand_Figures for publication.R – script to make plots for the publication (Figures 3 – 10, Supplemental Figure 5)

 

Raw data files

Feeding/starvation experiment:

07#Oysters_05092018-12092018.DAT –gape measurements

Aanwezig klimaatkamer klepstandmonitor_compleet.txt – date/time information of the gape measurements

 

Betonbak experiment

Klepstand_betonbak.DAT – gape measurements

Chlorofyl klepstand 08052020-10152020.csv – chlorophyll, turbidity and temperature measurements

 

Voordelta experiment

Voordelta juni 2021.DAT – gape measurements from the spring

Voordelta februari 2020.DAT – gape measurements from the autumn

Chl 20210510_0900_ACLW-USB_0753_103456_A.csv - chlorophyll, turbidity and temperature measurements from spring

Chl data voordelta1_winter.csv - chlorophyll, turbidity and temperature measurements from autumn

Data Aquadopp klepstand voordelta 20-07-2021.csv – flow measurements from the spring

data aquadopp klepstand_winter.csv – flow measurements from the autumn

 

Tidal information downloaded from the Rijkswaterstaat

NVT_WATHTBRKD_YERSKE.csv – data from Yerseke buoy (match with the Betonbak experiment)

NVT_WATHTBRKD_ROOMPBTN_autumn.csv – data from Roompot buoy (match with the autumn Voordelta experiment)

NVT_WATHTBRKD_ROOMPBTN_spring.csv – data from Roompot buoy (match with the spring Voordelta experiment)

Data

FileSizeFormatProcessingAccess
script to process raw data from the betonbak experiment
10 KoR
script to process raw data from the betonbak experiment
3 KoR
script to process the raw data from the Voordelta (spring/autumn) experiment
21 KoR
script to further process the post-processed data files
25 KoR
script to make plots for the publication (Figures 3 – 10, Supplemental Figure 5)
25 KoR
gape measurements
3 MoDATRaw data
date/time information of the gape measurements
3 KoTEXTRaw data
gape measurements
33 MoDATRaw data
chlorophyll, turbidity and temperature measurements
4 MoCSVRaw data
gape measurements from the spring
15 MoDATRaw data
gape measurements from the autumn
68 MoDATRaw data
chlorophyll, turbidity and temperature measurements from spring
4 MoCSVRaw data
chlorophyll, turbidity and temperature measurements from autumn
9 MoCSVRaw data
flow measurements from the spring
1 MoCSVRaw data
flow measurements from the autumn
2 MoCSVRaw data
data from Yerseke buoy (match with the Betonbak experiment)
416 KoCSVRaw data
data from Roompot buoy (match with the autumn Voordelta experiment)
511 KoCSVRaw data
data from Roompot buoy (match with the spring Voordelta experiment)
613 KoCSVRaw data
How to cite
Tonk Linda, Witbaard Rob, Van Dalen Pim, Cheng Chiu H., Kamermans Pauline (2022). Applicability of the gape monitor to study flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) feeding behaviour. SEANOE. https://doi.org/10.17882/92105
In addition to properly cite this dataset, it would be appreciated that the following work(s) be cited too, when using this dataset in a publication :
Linda Tonk, Rob Witbaard, Pim van Dalen, Chiu H. Cheng and Pauline Kamermans (2023). Applicability of the gape monitor to study flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) feeding behaviour. Accepted in Aquatic Living Resources.

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