Marine Biology

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Behavior and growth ofMercenaria mercenaria during simulated storm events

  • E. J. Turner
  • D. C. Miller


Experiments were conducted in April–August 1989 on juvenileMercenaria mercenaria (L.) in an oscillatory water tunnel to simulate resuspension of bottom sediments by waves and to determine the effects of shortterm storm events on particle ingestion, pseudofeces production, and shell growth. Juveniles (mean length = 19.2 mm) were subjected to identical concentrations of algae in both low-flow, gentle waves (maximum velocity = 7 cm s−1) and high-velocity storm waves (maximum velocity = 22 cm s−1). Suspended sediment levels reached 193 mg 1−1 at 1 cm above the bed during storms. Shell growth decreased by a maximum of 38% during the storm when levels of phytoplankton were high (average cell concentration = 43 × 106 cells 1−1), and by 18% when phytoplankton levels were low (av cell conc = 6 × 106 cells 1−1). Orientation of clam siphons was not related to flow direction. Significantly more pseudofeces were produced when the clams were subjected to increased sediment resuspension under waves, and in troughs of sand ripples. The size of sediment grains ingested did not vary significantly among the flow treatments. The decrease in shell growth during storms may be due to a reduction in filtration rate coupled with a decrease in net energy gained from filtration due to costs of pseudofeces production. The magnitude of the decrease seems to be related to concentration of algae, water temperature, age of clams and sediment transport mode (bed load or suspended load). Thus, the interpretation of growth increments must be made in the context of these environmental variables.


Phytoplankton Sediment Transport Storm Event Sediment Resuspension Shell Growth 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Turner
    • 1
  • D. C. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Marine StudiesUniversity of DelawareLewesUSA

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