Reproduction of the introduced oyster Crassostrea gigas (Bivalvia: Ostreidae) cultured on rafts in Spain.
The oyster Crassostrea gigas was introduced in Spain for aquaculture purposes; however, until now, it is not known whether populations are established in the wild, being necessary to define whether this species is spawning and which environmental variables trigger this process. The influence of environmental parameters on the reproduction of C. gigas was evaluated from January 2008 to October 2009 with oysters grown on a raft in the Ría de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain). Temperature and chlorophyll a are directly correlated to sexual maturation. Oysters can mature at temperatures below 14°C. The temperature necessary for spawning differs between the sexes, requiring a temperature above 15°C for males and 18°C for females. Females had a single massive spawn between June and September, while males had partial spawning from May to December with two peaks, one in May-September and another in October-December, with the second peak more pronounced. The first spawning peak is related to high temperatures and concentrations of chlorophyll a, and the second spawning peak is mainly related to the food availability in the water. The spawning asynchrony may be impeding establishment of wild C. gigas populations in Spain.