|Does the behavior of a burrowing bivalve (Limecola balthica) signal changes inthe environment?|Zalm, M.J.L. (2017). Does the behavior of a burrowing bivalve (Limecola balthica) signal changes inthe environment?. BSc Thesis. NIOZ Royal Institute for Sea Research: Texel. 21 pp.
Limecola balthica; Food-safety trade-off; Asset-protection principle; burial depth; body condition
Depending on the physiological condition of an animal, animals will take greater or less risksto increase their future reproductive potential. Thus, when an animal has valuable reproductiveassets, it will take measures to protect these resources. In terms of conservation, this can meanthat certain behavioural cues could be useful for indicating changes to the environment. In themarine environment, a marine bivalve (Limecola balthica) is known to make a short-term tradeoffbetween foraging and predation. This species also apparently signals behavioural changesover time. But what these changes mean in time is not completely understood. Here, wemanipulated the physiological state of this species by providing low versus high foodconcentrations over a period of six weeks. Results showed that food conditions, and thusphysiological state, were associated with burrowing depth of L. balthica. However, the burialdepth of Limecola with a higher body condition was not deeper as expected given the assetprotectionprinciple. Instead, L. balthica kept in poor food conditions, and thus with a lowerbody condition, were found to bury deeper. Although we cannot refute the asset protectionprinciple based on this experiment, we suggest that either what we are observing is due to areaction to seasonal cycles or the optimal foraging theory.