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Tissue sampling from live blue mussels, Mytilus edulis: a field study from the Swedish west coast
Svärdh, L. (2003). Tissue sampling from live blue mussels, Mytilus edulis: a field study from the Swedish west coast. J. Sea Res. 49(3): 221-225. dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1385-1101(03)00003-0
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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Keywords
    Acceptability; Environmental effects; Experimental research; Growth; Methodology; Mortality; Testing; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, Sweden, West; Marine

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  • Svärdh, L.

Abstract
    Histological techniques are often used to study environmental effects on mussels, but since these techniques include killing of the individuals, rare or endangered populations cannot be studied using conventional tissue sampling. This study is an attempt to find a method that can be used repeatedly with the same mussel individual and which does not affect growth and survival. From 200 mussels, Mytilus edulis, tissue was sampled in different ways, such as drilling a hole in the shell or prising apart the shell valves. Two kind of instruments were used, an injection needle and surgery forceps. Some of the drilled mussels had their holes sealed again with cement. Drilling a hole in the shell, removing tissue sample with surgical forceps and then leaving the holes open did not seriously harm the mussels during the two months the experiment lasted. But if the holes were sealed with cement, both length and weight growth were negatively affected (35% lower length growth and 36% lower weight growth compared to the control mussels). Mortality was highest among the drilled and sealed mussels (80% higher than among the other treatments). The vulnerability of the population, the aim of the study and the duration of the experiment should decide what method to use for tissue sampling. For long-term experiments and repeated sampling, opening the mussels by prizing apart the valves is a better alternative than drilling holes in the shells, but depending on the morphology of the species it could be difficult to sample the anterior part of the mussel body. For a short experiment and to sample anterior parts, drilling the shells, leaving the holes open and using surgical forceps, seems to be an acceptable compromise between the different treatments used.

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