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Clearance rates of the great scallop (Pecten maximus) and blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) at low natural seston concentrations
Strohmeier, T.; Strand, O.; Cranford, P. (2009). Clearance rates of the great scallop (Pecten maximus) and blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) at low natural seston concentrations. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 156(9): 1781-1795.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Strohmeier, T.
  • Strand, O.
  • Cranford, P.

    Great scallop, Pecten maximus, and blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, clearance rate (CR) responses to low natural seston concentrations were investigated in the laboratory to study (1) short-term CR variations in individual bivalves exposed to a single low seston diet, and (2) seasonal variations in average CR responses of bivalve cohorts to natural environmental variations. On a short temporal scale, mean CR response of both species to 0.06 µg L-1 chlorophyll a (Chl a) and 0.23 mg L-1 suspended particulate matter (SPM) remained constant despite large intra-individual fluctuations in CR. In the seasonal study, cohorts of each species were exposed to four seston treatments consisting of ambient and diluted natural seston that ranged in mean concentration from 0.15 to 0.43 mg L-1 SPM, 0.01 to 0.88 µg L-1 Chl a, 36 to 131 µg L-1 particulate organic carbon and 0.019 to 0.330 mm3 L-1 particle volume. Although food abundance in all treatments was low, the nutritional quality of the seston was relatively high (e.g., mean particulate organic content ranged from 68 to 75%). Under these low seston conditions, a high percentage of P. maximus (81–98%) and M. edulis (67–97%) actively cleared particles at mean rates between 9 and 12 and between 4 and 6 L g-1 h-1, respectively. For both species, minimum mean CR values were obtained for animals exposed to the lowest seston concentrations. Within treatments, P. maximus showed a greater degree of seasonality in CR than M. edulis, which fed at a relatively constant rate despite seasonal changes in food and temperature. P. maximus showed a non-linear CR response to increasing Chl a levels, with rates increasing to a maximum at approximately 0.4 µg L-1 Chl a and then decreasing as food quantity continued to increase. Mean CR of M. edulis also peaked at a similar concentration, but remained high and stable as the food supply continued to increase and as temperatures varied between 4.6 and 19.6°C. The results show that P. maximus and M. edulis from a low seston environment, do not stop suspension-feeding at very low seston quantities; a result that contradicts previous conclusions on the suspension-feeding behavior of bivalve mollusks and which is pertinent to interpreting the biogeographic distribution of bivalve mollusks and site suitability for aquaculture.

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