Published on: 01/01/17
Biology of oysters: reproduction
Because of their indeterminate growth pattern, oysters must partition their nutrient resources between somatic and gametic growth throughout their lifetime, and fitness demands a balancing of the costs and benefits of current versus future reproduction. External fertilization is imbued with difficulties in overcoming the risks of dilution and loss of gametes, and the converse, the dangers of polyspermy. A free-swimming larval stage represents a significant departure from the sessile life of the adult; the species must engage with two entirely different sets of environmental challenge, and cope, at the end of the larval period, with the further challenge of a morphological transition from life in the plankton to the benthos. And the outcome of these processes must maximize the ultimate factor in Darwinian fitness, the propagation of the species. This chapter is a discussion of some of the details.