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Seasonal variability in somatic and reproductive investment of the bivalve Scrobicularia plana (da Costa, 1778) along a latitudinal gradient
Santos, S.; Cardoso, J.F.M.F.; Carvalho, C.; Luttikhuizen, P.C.; van der Veer, H.W. (2011). Seasonal variability in somatic and reproductive investment of the bivalve Scrobicularia plana (da Costa, 1778) along a latitudinal gradient. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 92(1): 19-26. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.ecss.2010.12.005
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Scrobicularia plana (da Costa, 1778) [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Scrobicularia plana; seasonal cycle; life history; latitude; temperature

Authors  Top 
  • Santos, S., more
  • Cardoso, J.F.M.F., more
  • Carvalho, C.
  • Luttikhuizen, P.C., more
  • van der Veer, H.W., more

Abstract
    Monthly investment in soma and gonads in the bivalve Scrobicularia plana is described for three populations along its distributional range: Minho estuary, Portugal; Westerschelde estuary, The Netherlands and Buvika estuary, Norway. Seasonal cycles in body mass (BMI), somatic mass (SMI) and gonadal mass (GMI) indices were observed for all populations. In Portugal, BMI and SMI peaked in mid-autumn, while in The Netherlands both indices were at their highest in mid-spring. Norway showed a different pattern with two distinct peaks: one in mid-autumn and a second peak in spring. GMI reached maximum values in July in Portugal and Netherlands and in June in Norway. Overall, mean BMI and SMI were lower in Portugal while mean GMI was lower in Norway. The spawning period lasted the whole summer in Portugal, but was shorter (only two months) in The Netherlands and Norway. The reproductive investment in The Netherlands was significantly higher than in Portugal and Norway, with the lowest values being observed in Norway. Differences in annual cycles between populations were attributed to environmental factors, namely temperature and food availability. Temperature seems important in shaping the reproductive pattern with more northern populations showing shorter reproductive periods starting later in the year, and a lower reproductive output. In addition, winter water temperatures can explain the lower mean body and somatic mass values observed in Portugal. Food availability influenced the physiological performance of the species with peaks in somatic mass coinciding with phytoplankton blooms. This relation between physiological performance and environmental factors influences S. plana distribution, densities and even survival, with natural consequences on its commercial importance.

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