Marine Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 371–382 | Cite as

Natural variability in distribution of an intertidal population of Macoma balthica subject to potential oil pollution at Port Valdez, Alaska

  • R. T. Myren
  • J. J. Pella


Natural variability in the abundance of an intertidal population of the lamellibranch Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) was measured during 1971 and 1972 in a study area near the proposed oil storage and tankship loading facility at the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska pipeline in Port Valdez, Alaska. M. balthica were divided for analysis into a large and a small size category. Small temporal changes in population densities throughout the entire study area were detected for both size categories over several of the 7 sampling times of the 2-year period. Large and persistent differences in density were found among elevation contour intervals for either size category; however, variations in the density profiles on elevation occurred among sampling times. Large M. balthica became more equitably distributed and the small category less equitably distributed among elevation contours over the 2-year period. Densities of both size categories were more stable at the higher elevations of the study site. Large M. balthica were more homogeneously distributed along a given elevation contour interval than the small category. Mobility and time available to redistribute at a horizontal location would explain the more homogeneous distribution of large M. balthica if competition for food resources exists.


Sampling Time Density Profile Natural Variability Size Category Entire Study Area 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. T. Myren
    • 1
  • J. J. Pella
    • 1
  1. 1.Auke Bay Laboratory, Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNOAAAuke BayUSA

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