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Mussel Mytilus edulis (Mytilacea) dynamics in relation to environmental gradients and intraspecific interactions
McGrorty, S.; Goss-Custard, J.D.; Clarke, R.T. (1993). Mussel Mytilus edulis (Mytilacea) dynamics in relation to environmental gradients and intraspecific interactions. Neth. J. Aquat. Ecol. 27: 163-171
In: Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology. Kluwer Academic Publishers/Netherlands Society of Aquatic Ecology: Bilthoven. ISSN 1380-8427, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • McGrorty, S.; Goss-Custard, J.D.; Clarke, R.T. (1993). Mussel Mytilus edulis (Mytilacea) dynamics in relation to environmental gradients and intraspecific interactions, in: Meire, P. et al. (Ed.) Marine and Estuarine Gradients: ECSA 21: Proceedings of the 21st Symposium of the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association held in Gent, 9-14 september 1991. Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology, 27(2-4): pp. 163-171, more

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Marine; Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • McGrorty, S.
  • Goss-Custard, J.D.
  • Clarke, R.T.

Abstract
    The spatial variations in the densities of adult (> 1 year old) mussels Mytilus edulis L. in the Exe estuary, South-west England, are investigated in relation to six potentially significant environmental gradients; distance up-estuary and up-shore, substrate softness, mussel bed topography, bed area and proportion covered by algae. The most important correlate of mussel density was the up-shore gradient, as measured by exposure time; mussels were densest just below mid-tide level. The level of recruitment of spat mussels (0 yr) to each bed depended on the densities of adults already present; more spat were recruited where adults were denser. Their subsequent mortality was strongly density dependent, with the numbers surviving the winter also being related to the density of adults. Hence the population as a whole was self-sustaining and densities on the individual beds were related to the up-shore gradient of exposure time. The question of how adult densities became established in the first place is therefore discussed. In former times, fishermen laid many mussel beds over the estuary and it is concluded that, once abandoned, only those placed at or below the mid-tide level survived.

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