The underlying mechanisms controlling growth heterosis in marine invertebrates remain poorly understood. We used pure blacklip (Haliotis rubra) and greenlip (Haliotis laevigata) abalone, as well as their hybrid, to test whether differences in movement and/or aerobic versus anaerobic energy use are linked to a purported increased growth rate in hybrids. Abalone were acclimated to control (16 °C) and typical summer temperatures (23 °C), each with oxygen treatments of 100% air saturation (O2sat) or 70% O2sat. The experiment then consisted of two phases. During the first phase (chronic exposure), movement and oxygen consumption rates (ṀO2) of abalone were measured during a 2 day observation period at stable acclimation conditions. Additionaly, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and tauropine dehydrogenase (TDH) activities were measured. During phase two (acute exposure), O2sat was raised to 100% for abalone acclimated to 70% O2sat followed by an acute decrease in oxygen to anoxia for all acclimation groups during which movement and ṀO2 were determined again. During the chronic exposure, hybrids and H. laevigata moved shorter distances than H. rubra. Resting ṀO2, LDH and TDH activities, however, were similar between abalone types but were increased at 23 °C compared to 16 °C. During the acute exposure, the initial increase to 100% O2sat for individuals acclimated to 70% O2sat resulted in increased movement compared to individuals acclimated to 100% O2sat for hybrids and H. rubra when compared within type of abalone. Similarly, ṀO2 during spontaneous activity of all three types of abalone previously subjected to 70% O2sat increased above those at 100% O2sat. When oxygen levels had dropped below the critical oxygen level (Pcrit), movement in hybrids and H. laevigata increased up to 6.5-fold compared to movement above Pcrit. Differences in movement and energy use between hybrids and pure species were not marked enough to support the hypothesis that the purportedly higher growth in hybrids is due to an energetic advantage over pure species.
Keywords: Anaerobic enzyme activity; Gastropod; Hybrid vigour; Locomotion.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.