Marine Biology

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 253–262 | Cite as

Population dynamics and production of the bivalve Abra alba and implications for fisheries production

  • S. F. Rainer


Recruitment, life span and growth rate were investigated in field and experimental populations of Abra alba (Wood) in Kiel Bay, FRG (55°N) from 1975 to 1978 to determine production to biomass (P:B) ratios and to assess the importance of A. alba to production by commercial fish. Life span and growth rates were determined from changes in length frequency modes at each site and from winter rings on the shell. A peak of recruitment usually occurred in August, sometimes followed by a second peak between December and February. Life span was between a little more than one year and two and a half years. Growth rates were highest at the two sites in offshore fishing grounds, where bivalves reached a mean length of 13 to 16 mm at the end of two years. At the inshore control site and in the nearby experimental containers, individuals reached a mean length of 7 mm at the end of two years. Production estimates ranged from 110 to 3.000 mg C m-2 year-1, differing markedly among sites and among years. Production was highest during the first year after recruitment, occurring mainly between July and December. Mortality occurred mainly between January and June, and was in approximate balance with production over a three-year period. Annual P:B ratios were from 1.3 to 3.4; a long-term mean P:B ratio of 2.2 is suggested for Kiel Bay populations of A. alba. Annual production by A. alba appears to exceed considerably consumption by fish of commercial size. The significance of A. alba in the food web of Kiel Bay may thus be as food for juvenile fish or for intermediate-level predators that are themselves prey for larger fish.


Life Span Fishing Bivalve Alba Control Site 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. F. Rainer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für MeereskundeKiel 1Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)

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