The presence of standing genetic variation will play a role in determining a population’s capacity to adapt to environmentally relevant stressors. In the Gulf of Mexico, extreme climatic events and anthropogenic changes to local hydrology will expose productive oyster breeding grounds to stressful low salinity conditions. We identified genetic variation for performance under low salinity (due to the combined effects of low salinity and genetic load) using a single-generation selection experiment on larvae from two populations of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. We used pool-sequencing to test for allele frequency differences at 152 salinity-associated genes for larval families pre- and post-low salinity exposure. Our results have implications for how evolutionary change occurs during early life history stages at environmentally relevant salinities. Consistent with observations of high genetic load observed in oysters, we demonstrate evidence for purging of deleterious alleles at the larval stage in C. virginica. In addition, we observe increases in allele frequencies at multiple loci, suggesting that natural selection for low salinity performance at the larval stage can act as a filter for genotypes found in adult populations.