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The introduced clam Ensis americanus in the Wadden Sea: field experiment on impact of bird predation and tidal level on survival and growth
Freudendahl, A.S.L.; Nielsen, M.M.; Jensen, T.; Jensen, K.T. (2010). The introduced clam Ensis americanus in the Wadden Sea: field experiment on impact of bird predation and tidal level on survival and growth. Helgol. Mar. Res. 64(2): 93-100. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10152-009-0168-5
In: Helgoland Marine Research. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 1438-387X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Ecosystem disturbance; Growth rate; Interspecific relationships; Intertidal environment; Marine molluscs; Predation; Shells; Survival; Aves [WoRMS]; Bivalvia [WoRMS]; Ensis americanus (Gould, 1870) [WoRMS]; Haematopus ostralegus Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Somateria mollissima (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANE, Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, North Frisian Is., Helgoland [Marine Regions]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Freudendahl, A.S.L.
  • Nielsen, M.M.
  • Jensen, T.
  • Jensen, K.T.

Abstract
    In the Danish Wadden Sea the intertidal distribution of the introduced bivalve Ensis americanus (syn. E. directus) is restricted to a narrow zone around the mean low water level. To test the possible impact of birds and submersion time on dynamics and distribution of the clams, adult specimens of E. americanus collected near the low water line were transplanted to two intertidal sites and established in open and net-covered experimental plots for 9 weeks (autumn 2001). The lowest survival of clams was registered at the low-shore-site (LSS) in plots open to bird predators, suggesting that birds such as Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) or Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) may control the abundance of E. americanus at the lower tidal levels. For clams showing increment in shell length during the study period, the shell growth rates were highest at the LSS and lowest in the open plots at the high-shore-site (HSS). Differences in immersion time and thus food supply may explain this pattern. Body mass index (BMI) of the clams showed basically the same pattern as the survivorship: lowest BMI in open plots at the LSS and highest in the covered plots at this site. Clams from the HSS were intermediate in their BMI. Disturbance by birds in the open plots at the LSS may explain the low BMI. In conclusion birds may be an important factor controlling abundance of E. americanus in the lower intertidal zone.

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