|Long-term changes in annual growth of bivalves in the Wadden Sea: influences of temperature, food, and abundance|Beukema, J.J.; Dekker, R.; Drent, J.; van der Meer, J. (2017). Long-term changes in annual growth of bivalves in the Wadden Sea: influences of temperature, food, and abundance. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 573: 143-156. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12122
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, meer
Cerastoderma edule (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Mya arenaria Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Seasonal weight gain; Long-term data series; Chlorophyll concentration; Cerastoderma edule; Mytilus edulis; Mya arenaria; Macoma balthica
We report on results of a long-term (1978−2015) field study on between-year variabilityin annual weight growth of 1 yr old individuals of 4 dominant bivalve species on tidal flatsin the western part of the Wadden Sea: 3 filter-feeders (Cerastoderma edule, Mytilus edulis, andMya arenaria) and 1 filter/deposit-feeder (Macoma balthica). Relationships between individualweight gain during the growing season and 2 environmental factors (temperature, food supply) inthe growing season (March to August) were studied. Weight gains varied strongly from year toyear (by an order of magnitude in all species) and showed significant correlations with water temperatures(negative in M. balthica, positive in the other 3 species). Chlorophyll concentrations inthe water showed a significant positive relationship with growth only in M. balthica. In the other3 species, year-to-year fluctuations in growth were synchronized, showing a consistent patternwith elevated values between 1991 and 2005. The abrupt change to faster growth in the early1990s may have been caused by the nearly complete disappearance in the western Wadden Seaof mussel beds for a period of several years, starting in 1990. The change to declining growth ratesin the early 2000s took place simultaneously with a decline in chlorophyll concentrations and arapid increase in stocks of the invasive bivalve Ensis directus. In all 4 studied species, growth rateswere strongly reduced in 2012, a year with exceptionally high numbers of filter-feeding bivalveson the tidal flats.