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Muscular alteration of gill geometry in vitro: implications for bivalve pumping processes
Medler, S.; Silverman, H. (2001). Muscular alteration of gill geometry in vitro: implications for bivalve pumping processes. Biol. Bull. 200: 77-86
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Medler, S.
  • Silverman, H.

    In bivalves, water-pumping potential is determined both by ciliary activity and by the geometry of the system of passageways that acts as a conduit for water flow. Smooth muscles intrinsic to the gills of eulamellibranch bivalves possess the anatomical organization needed to regulate the dimensions of these water passageways. The tone of these muscles can be controlled experimentally using excitatory neurotransmitters to elicit muscle contraction and by removing Ca 11 from the Ringer’s solution to induce muscular relaxation. These experimental methods were used to investigate the effects of smooth muscle tone on the gill dimensions of two freshwater bivalves, Dreissena polymorpha and Corbicula fluminea, and one marine bivalve, Mercenaria mercenaria. In addition, endoscopic observations were made from the suprabranchial chamber of a freshwater unionid, Lampsilis anodontoides. Contraction of gill muscles led to a significant reduction in interfilament width, internal ostial area, and the cross-sectional area of the water tubes. Endoscopic observation from minimally disturbed L. anodontoides revealed rapid constriction of the water tubes upon contraction of the muscles of the gill and gill axis. Taken together, these data support the idea that alteration of smooth muscle tone in the gill provides a mechanism for controlling water-pumping activities.

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