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How predictable is high bivalve recruitment in the Wadden Sea after a severe winter?
Strasser, M.; Dekker, R.; Essink, K.; Günther, C.-P.; Jaklin, S.; Kröncke, I.; Madsen, P.B.; Michaelis, H.; Vedel, G. (2003). How predictable is high bivalve recruitment in the Wadden Sea after a severe winter? J. Sea Res. 49(1): 47-57
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Recruitment; Tidal flats; Cerastoderma edule (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Mya arenaria Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Strasser, M., correspondent
  • Dekker, R.
  • Essink, K., more
  • Günther, C.-P.
  • Jaklin, S.
  • Kröncke, I., more
  • Madsen, P.B.
  • Michaelis, H.
  • Vedel, G.

    Higher than average recruitment among bivalves on the intertidal flats of the Wadden Sea was often observed after severe winters in the period 1940-1995. The occurrence of another severe winter in 1995/96 prompted us to test the hypothesis of severe winters leading to universally high bivalve recruitment on a large geographic scale (500 km coastline) in temperate shallow waters. We analysed data sets on bivalve abundance from seven areas in the Dutch, German and Danish Wadden Sea. The longer data sets showed generally higher bivalve recruitment in the 1970s and 1980s than in the 1990s which may be related to the near absence of severe winters since 1987. Considering the period 1988 onwards (the longest possible period in which 1995/96 was the only severe winter), recruitment of Cerastoderma edule was in 1996 - in agreement with our hypothesis - above average in all seven areas investigated. In contrast, recruitment of Macoma balthica and Mya arenaria was for the same period above average only in the southern Wadden Sea (south-west of Jade Bay) but not in the northern Wadden Sea (north of Eiderstedt peninsula). These regional differences may be related to (i) the different topography of the northern Wadden Sea (with barrier islands west of the mainland) compared to the southern Wadden Sea (with barrier islands north of the mainland) and subsequent differential effects of wind-induced currents on bivalve recruitment, (ii) differences in biotic factors such as standing stocks, larval supply or epibenthic predation or (iii) changes in environmental conditions. Our results demonstrate that large-scale comparisons along coasts are an indispensable addition to insights derived from local studies alone.

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