Marine Biology

, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 211–218 | Cite as

Direct measurement technique for determining ventilation rate in the deposit feeding clam Macoma nasuta (Bivalvia, Tellinaceae)

  • D. T. Specht
  • H. LeeII


An exposure chamber, the “clambox”, was developed to measure ventilation rate, sediment processing rate, and efficiency of pollutant uptake by Macoma nasuta conrad, a surface deposit-feeding clam. Clams, collected from Yaquina Bay, Oregon, USA, were cemented into a hole in a piece of rubber dental dam so that the inhalant and exhalant siphons were separated by a membrane. The dental dam was then clamped between two glass chambers. The inhalant and exhalant siphons were thus directed into separate chambers of the device so that the amounts of water or feces discharged into the exhalant chamber provided direct measures of ventilation rate and sediment processing rate, respectively. Clams exhibited no stress from the procedure. Ventilation rate was not affected by the imposition of a 5 mm hydraulic head in the exhalant chamber, by having sediment only in the inhalant chamber, or by exposure to organic-free sediment. The mean weight-specific ventilation rate for M. nasuta was 7.3 ml g-1 h-1 on a wet-flesh basis. This low rate, compared to rates for filter-feeding bivalves, supports the contention that deposit-feeding is the dominant feeding mode for M. nasuta. The short-term pattern was for ventilation to be intermittenly interrupted, essentially ceasing for 12 to 120 min, followed by a short period of active ventilation and then a resumption of the normal rate. Less than 3% of the total water flux could be attributed to water which entered the body cavity across the mantle margin. Water exhaled from the inhalant siphon during the ejection of pseudofeces was <10% of the ventilation rate. The clambox technique should be adaptable to studies on other tellinid bivalves.


Bivalve Hydraulic Head Ventilation Rate Exposure Chamber Glass Chamber 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. T. Specht
    • 1
  • H. LeeII
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Division, Environmental Research Laboratory — NarragansettU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science CenterNewportUSA

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