Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 6, pp 2255–2270 | Cite as

Population dynamics of naturalised Manila clams Ruditapes philippinarum in British coastal waters

  • John HumphreysEmail author
  • Richard W. G. Caldow
  • Selwyn McGrorty
  • Andrew D. West
  • Antony C. Jensen
Research Article


The Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum was introduced to Poole Harbour (lat 50°N) on the south coast of England in 1988 as a novel species for aquaculture. Contrary to expectations, this species naturalised. We report on individual growth patterns, recruitment, mortality and production within this population. On the intertidal mudflats the abundance of clams (>5 mm in length) varied seasonally between 18 and 56 individuals m−2. There appear to be two recruitment events per year and there were 6 year classes in the population. A mid-summer decline in abundance was partly due to increased mortality but probably also a result of down-shore migration in response to high water temperatures and the development of anoxic conditions. A winter fishery removes c 75% of clams of fishable size (maximum shell length ≥40 mm) and c 20% of the annual production. The fishery depresses the maximum age and size attained by the clams but appears to be sustainable. Clam mortality due to factors other than fishing is highest in late-winter to early spring. The growth of the clams is intermediate in comparison with many published studies but remarkably good given their intertidal position. As on the coasts of the Adriatic Sea, where the clam is also non-native, the Manila clam has thrived in a shallow, eutrophic, lagoon-like system on the English coast. While the Poole Harbour population is currently Europe’s most northerly reported self-sustaining, naturalised population, given forecasts of increasing air and sea temperatures it might be expected that this species will eventually spread to more sites around the coasts of Northern Europe with associated economic and ecological consequences.


Seed Shrimp Manila Clam Total Annual Production Maximum Shell Length Minimum Landing Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the Southern Sea Fisheries Committee, Poole Harbour Commissioners, the Consumer Protection Services, Borough of Poole and English Nature for their agreement in allowing us to gather Manila clams from Poole Harbour. We are grateful also to Danielle Aveling of the Environment Agency for the provision of water surface temperature data. We would like to thank S. Durell and R. Stillman with help in gathering some of the samples, and S. Smith and M. Langran of the CEH Library Service for collating reprints of the studies cited in this paper. Two anonymous referees provided helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Humphreys
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard W. G. Caldow
    • 2
  • Selwyn McGrorty
    • 2
  • Andrew D. West
    • 2
  • Antony C. Jensen
    • 3
  1. 1.Old Royal Naval CollegeUniversity of GreenwichGreenwich, LondonUK
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, CEH DorsetWinfrith Technology CentreDorchesterUK
  3. 3.School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography CentreUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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