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Growth of the European abalone (Haliotis tuberculata L.) in situ: Seasonality and ageing using stable oxygen isotopes

Abstract : The ormer, Haliotis tuberculata is the only European abalone species commercially exploited. The determination of growth and age in the wild is an important tool for fisheries and aquaculture management. However, the ageing technique used in the past in the field is unreliable. The stable oxygen isotope composition (18O/16O) of the shell depends on the temperature and oxygen isotope composition of the ambient sea water. The stable oxygen isotope technique, developed to study paleoclimatological changes in shellfish, was applied to three H. tuberculata specimens collected in north-west Brittany. For the specimens collected, the oxygen isotope ratios of the shell reflected the seasonal cycle in the temperature. From winter-to-winter cycles, estimates of the age and the annual growth increment, ranging from 13 to 55 mm per year were obtained. This study shows that stable oxygen isotopes can be a reliable tool for ageing and growth studies of this abalone species in the wild, and for validating other estimates.
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Sabine Roussel, Sylvain Huchette, Jacques Clavier, Laurent Chauvaud. Growth of the European abalone (Haliotis tuberculata L.) in situ: Seasonality and ageing using stable oxygen isotopes. Journal of Sea Research, Elsevier, 2011, 65 (2), pp.213-218. ⟨10.1016/j.seares.2010.10.001⟩. ⟨hal-00663799⟩

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