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Estimation of food limitation of bivalve larvae in coastal waters of Northwestern Europe
Bos, O.G.; Hendriks, I.E.; Strasser, M.; Dolmer, P.; Kamermans, P. (2005). Estimation of food limitation of bivalve larvae in coastal waters of Northwestern Europe, in: Bos, O.G. Recruitment variation in Macoma balthica (L.): is there a role for larval food limitation?. pp. 57-82
In: Bos, O.G. (2005). Recruitment variation in Macoma balthica (L.): is there a role for larval food limitation?. PhD Thesis. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen: Groningen. ISBN 90-367-2356-6. 160 pp., more

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  • Bos, O.G., more
  • Hendriks, I.E., more
  • Strasser, M.
  • Dolmer, P.
  • Kamermans, P., more

Abstract
    One factor that may affect marine invertebrate recruitment is food limitation during the pelagic larval life stages. In the present study, field data on abundance of bivalve larvae along with their prey (small phytoplankton) were examined to see if they conformed to predictions made by an energetic model of larval requirements. Bivalve larvae were monitored during the year 2000 at 10 different study sites in 4 different areas (Limfjorden, Sylt-Romo bight, Western Wadden Sea and Delta area) along the coast of Northwestern Europe. Calculation of the energetic requirements of the larvae at 15°C pointed to maintenance costs of a 200-µm bivalve larva to amount to 1.9 x 10-5 J larva-1 d-1, while the maximum assimilation rate, resulting in maximum growth, would amount to 6.2 x 10-3 J larva-1 d-1. Calculation of potential assimilation rates of larvae in the field resulted in estimates between 10-5 and 10-3 J larva-1 d-1. Maximum larval concentrations in the field occurred from May till September and ranged between 17 and 392 larvae dm-3. At most times larvae could cover their maintenance costs, but were not able to attain maximum growth rates. Between April and September, the potential assimilation rate averaged 7-26% of the maximum assimilation rate. Under the assumptions made for the present study, it is suggested that growth of larvae in Northwest European waters is often food-limited.

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