Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The relationships among multiple-locus heterozygosity, age, reproduction and growth were examined over the ca. 2-yr lifespan of a cohort of northern bay scallops, Argopecten irradians irradians (Lamarck), from the Niantic River estuary, Connecticut, USA. Electrophoretic analyses revealed a relatively low proportion of polymorphic loci (=0.35) and low level of heterozygote deficiency ( D. across 6 loci=-0.05) in this population. Allele frequency distributions showed a high degree of temporal stability within and among cohorts. No significant correlation was found between multiple-locus heterozygosity and either somatic or reproductive growth. Our results lend support to the postulated linkage between low heterozygote deficit and lack of a heterozygosity/growth association in marine bivalves, and in the pectinid group in particular. Partial reproductive senility occurs in these scallops in their second year of life. Somatic tissue weight increased exponentially with increasing shell height, whereas pre-spawning gonad mass attained asymptotic values in 2-yr-old scallops. Thus, weight-specific reproductive effort was significantly lower in second- than first-year scallops (24 and 33% respectively). This pattern could be generated if high individual reproductive effort in the first year were correlated with accelerated (early) post-reproductive senescence. This kind of resource allocation, in which somatic growth is given precedence over reproductive growth in older individuals, has been previously reported in only one other bivalve, a pectinid (Chlamys islandica), in which the decline in reproductive effort occurs only after the scallops reach an age of ca. 20 yr.
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