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Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 6, pp 1271–1282 | Cite as

Habitat related growth and reproductive investment in estuarine waters, illustrated for the tellinid bivalve Macoma balthica (L.) in the western Dutch Wadden Sea

  • Joana F. M. F. CardosoEmail author
  • Johannes IJ. Witte
  • Henk W. van der Veer
Research Article

Abstract

In estuarine areas, bivalve species can be found in a variety of environments, where they experience large differences in environmental conditions. In the present paper, the importance of different habitats (intertidal, subtidal and adjacent coastal waters) for the persistence of the population was evaluated for the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.) in the western Dutch Wadden Sea estuary. Intra-specific variation in growth and reproductive output were followed during the year and related to local abiotic conditions. Significant differences in growth and reproductive investment were found between locations. Young individuals were mostly found in the intertidal area, where growth in terms of somatic mass was good. These areas were not favourable for adult individuals, since growth in shell length was low and many individuals did not reproduce. In the subtidal, where the highest densities were found, somatic and gonadal mass indices were low. Coastal areas had the lowest densities and showed high growth in terms of shell length and body mass. The habitat with the highest reproductive effort per individual was not the most important habitat in terms of reproductive output due to differences in density and in size of the habitat type. For M. balthica, the subtidal habitat contributed the most to the reproductive output of the western Dutch Wadden Sea population although the highest reproductive output per individual was in the coastal area.

Keywords

Reproductive Output Shell Length Reproductive Investment Macoma Balthica Subtidal Area 
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.

Notes

Acknowledgement

We thank the crews of RV ‘Navicula’ and RV ‘Stern’ for assistance during sampling. Jan Beukema, Wim Wolff, Jaap van der Meer, Jan Drent, Oscar Bos, Pieter Honkoop, Katja Philippart, Pauline Kamermans and two anonymous reviewers provided critical comments on earlier drafts of the paper. This research was supported by the project ‘Praxis XXI’ MCT—Portugal, grant BD/21799/99 to Joana Cardoso.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana F. M. F. Cardoso
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johannes IJ. Witte
    • 1
  • Henk W. van der Veer
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen Burg TexelThe Netherlands

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