Perspectives on Field Studies and Related Biological Models of Bivalve Growth and Carrying Capacity

  • Jon Grant
  • Michael Dowd
  • Keith Thompson
  • Craig Emerson
  • Annamarie Hatcher
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (volume 33)


Marine bivalves are cultured throughout the world, and in many places such as Atlantic Canada and New Zealand, culture of mussels and other groups has grown exponentially in the last decade (Hickman 1989; Mallet 1989). Acceptable culture sites are limited due to habitat suitability, road access, and competing recreational or commercial use such as wild fisheries. As available culture space becomes filled up with stock, there may be a depression of individual bivalve growth rate and an increase in mortality caused by several factors associated with overcrowding. Suspension feeders have a remarkable capacity to filter the water column such that they are food limited at high culture density (Navarro et al. 1991). There are several indications that production maxima have been reached or exceeded as culture is continually expanded to the detriment of food supply (Mallet 1989; Hickman et al. 1991; Pérez Comacho et al. 1991). This phenomenon is also documented for natural populations of both infaunal and epifaunal bivalves including mussel beds (Peterson and Black 1987; Fréchette and Grant 1991; Smaal 1991; Bayne and Hawkins 1992). Moreover, culture research has demonstrated major site differences in growth rate (Mallet et al. 1986) confirming that environmental conditions can regulate shellfish production. Overcrowded culture conditions also lead to increased incidence of shellfish diseases (Dijkema and van Stralen 1989). Finally, high culture biomass may produce a negative feedback to the local environment through organic loading and anaerobic conditions beneath culture leases (Dahlbäck and Gunnarsson 1981), potentially leading to degradation of culture environments.


Shell Length Mytilus Edulis Blue Mussel Suspension Feeder Tidal Prism 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bacher C, Heral M, Deslous-Paoli JM, Razet D (1991) Modele energetique uniboite de la croissance des huitres (Crassostrea gigas) dans le bassin de Marennes-Oleron. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 391–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayne BL, Newell RC (1983) Physiological energetics of marine molluscs. In: The mollusca, Vol. 4 (Saleudin ASM, Wilbur KM, eds), pp. 407–515. New York Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Bayne BL, Thompson RJ, Widdows J (1973) Some effects of temperature and food on the rate of oxygen consumption by Mytilus edulis L. In: Effects of temperature on ectothermic organisms, Elsevier Amsterdam (Wieser W, ed), pp. 181–193, Springer-Verlag BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bayne BL, Worrall CM (1980) Growth and production of mussels Mytilus edulis from two populations. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 3: 317–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bayne BL, Hawkins, AJS (1992) Ecological and physiological aspects of herbivory in benthic suspension-feeding molluscs, In: Plant-animal interactions in the marine benthos, (John DM, Hawkins SJ, Price JH, eds), pp. 265–288. Clarendon Press OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Bayne BL, Widdows J (1978) The physiological ecology of two populations of Mytilus edulis L. Oecologia 37: 137–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bayne BL, Hawkins AJS, Navarro E (1988) Feeding and digestion in suspension-feding molluscs: the relevance of physiological compensations. Amer. Zool. 28: 147–159Google Scholar
  8. Bayne, B (1993) Feeding physiology of bivalves: time dependence and compensation for changes in food available. This volumeGoogle Scholar
  9. Beukema JJ, Cadee GC (1991) Growth rates of the bivalve Macoma balthica in the Wadden Sea during a period of eutrophication — relationships with concentrations of pelagic diatoms and flagellates. Mar. Ecol. Ser. 68: 249–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blanton JO, Tenore KR, Castillejo F, Atkinson LP, Schwing FB, Lavin A (1987) The relationship of upwelling to mussel production in the rias on the western coast of Spain. J. Mar. Res. 45: 497–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown JR, Hartwick (1988) A habitat suitability index model for suspended tray culture of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas Thunberg. Aquacult. Fish. Manage. 19: 109–126Google Scholar
  12. Bricelj VM, Epp J, Malouf RE (1987) Intraspecific variation in reproductive and somatic growth cycles of bay scallops Argopecten irradians. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 36: 123–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brylinsky M, Sephton TW (1991) Development of a computer simulation model of a culture blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) population. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1805Google Scholar
  14. Carver CEA, Mallet AL (1990) Estimating the carrying capacity of a coastal inlet for mussel culture. Aquaculture 88: 39–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cloern JE (1991) Tidal stirring and phytoplanton bloom dynamics in an estuary. J. Mar. Res. 49: 203–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dahlbäck Gunnarsson LÅH (1981) Sedimentation and sulfate reduction under a mussel culture. Mar. Biol. 63: 269–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davenport J, Woolmington AD (1982) A new method of monitoring ventilatory activity in mussels and its use in a study of the ventilatory patterns.of Mytilus edulis L. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 62: 55–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dijkema R, van Stralen M (1989) Mussel cultivation in the Netherlands. World Aquacult. 20: 56–62Google Scholar
  19. Doering PH, Oviatt CA (1986) Application of filtration rate models to field populations of bivalves: an assessment using experimental mesocosms. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 31: 265–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dowd, M (1991) On the prediction of bivalve growth in an aquaculture site. M.Sc. thesis, Dalhousie UniversityGoogle Scholar
  21. Dyer KR (1973) Estuaries: a physical introduction. John Wiley LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Falkowski PG, Flagg CN, Rowe GT, Smith SL, Whitledge TE, Wirick D (1988) The fate of a spring phytoplankton bloom: export or oxidation. Cont. Shelf Res. 8: 457–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fegley SR, MacDonald BA, Jacobsen TR (1992) Short-term variation in the quantity and quality of seston available to benthic suspension feeders. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 34: 393–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fischer HB, List JE, Koh RCY, Imberger J and Brooks NH (1979) Mixing in inland and coastal waters. Academic Press OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  25. Fréchette M, Bouget E (1987) Significance of smallscale spatio-temporal heterogeneity in phytoplankton abundance for energy flow in Mytilus edulis. Mar. Biol. 94: 231–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fréchette M, Grant J (1991) An in situ estimation of the effect of wind-driven resuspension on the growth of the mussel Mytilus edulis L. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 148: 210–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fréchette, M., Butman CA, Geyer WR 1989. The importance of boundary-layer flow processes in supplying phytoplankton to the benthic suspension-feeder, Mytilus edulis L. Limnol. Oceanogr. 34: 19–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gibbs MM, James MR, Pickmere SE, Woods PH, Shakespeare BS, Hickman RW, Illingsworth J (1991) Hydrodynamic and water column properties at six station associated with mussel farming in Pelorus Sound, 1984-85. N. Z. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 25: 239–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grant J (1986) Sensitivity of benthic community respiration and primary production to changes in temperature and light. Mar. Biol. 90: 299–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grant J, Cranford PJ (1991) Carbon and nitrogen scope for growth as a function of diet in the sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 71: 437–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grant J, Enright CT, Griswold A (1990) Resuspension and growth of Ostrea edulis: a field experiment. Mar. Biol. 104: 51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grizzle RE, Lutz RA (1989) A statistical model relating horizontal seston fluxes and bottom sediment characteristics to growth of Mercenaria mercenaria. Mar. Biol. 95-105Google Scholar
  33. Herman PMJ, Scholten H (1990) Can suspension feeders stabilise estuarine ecosystems? In Trophic relationships in the marine environment, (Barnes, M, Gibson RN eds) pp 104–116, Aberdeen University Press AberdeenGoogle Scholar
  34. Herman PMJ (1993) A set of models to investigate the role of suspension feeders in estuarine ecosystems. This volumeGoogle Scholar
  35. Hickman RW, Waite RP, Illingworth J, Meredyth-Young, JL, Payne G (1991) The relationship between farmed mussels, Perna canaliculus, and available food in Pelorus-Kenepuru Sound, New Zealand, 1983–1985. Aquaculture 99: 49–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Incze LS, Lutz RA, True E (1981) Modeling carrying capacities for bivalve molluscs in open, suspended — culture systems. J. World Maricult. Soc. 12: 143–155Google Scholar
  37. Johnson M (1990) The importance of particle-bound bacteria in the diet of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. M.Sc. Thesis, Dalhousie University, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  38. Jørgensen CB, Larsen PS, Riisgard HU (1990) Effects of temperature on the mussel pump. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 64: 89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kautsky N (1982) Growth and size structure in a Baltic Mytilus edulis population. Mar. Biol. 68: 117–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Knox, GA (1986) Estuarine ecosystems: a systems approach. CRC Press Boca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  41. Kremer JN, Nixon SW (1978) A coastal marine ecosystem: simulation and analysis. Springer-Verlag BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Loo L-O (1992) Filtration, absorption, respiration and growth of Mytilus edulis L. at low temperatures. Ophelia 35: 123–131Google Scholar
  43. Loo L-O, Rosenberg R (1983) Mytilus edulis culture: growth and production in western Sweden. Aquaculture 35: 137–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lucas MI, Newell RC, Shumway SE, Bally R (1987) Particle clearance and yield in relation to bacterioplankton and suspended particulate availability in estuarine and open coast populations of the mussel Mytilus edulis. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 36: 215–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. MacCaull WA, Platt T (1977) Diel variations in the photosynthetic parameters of coastal marine phytoplankton. Limnol. Oceanogr. 22: 723–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. MacDonald BA Thompson RJ (1986) Influence of temperature and food availability on the ecological energetics of the giant scallop Placopecten magellanicus III. Physiological ecology, the gametogenic cycle and scope for growth. Mar. Biol. 93: 37–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mallet, AL (1989) Culture of the mussel Mytilus edulis. In: Cold-water aquaculture in Atlantic Canada, (Boghen, AD ed) pp. 179–210, Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development MonctonGoogle Scholar
  48. Mallet AL, Carver CE (1991) An assessment of strategies for growing mussels in suspended culture. J. Shell. Res. 10: 471–478Google Scholar
  49. Mallet A, Carver CE, Coffen SS, Freeman KR (1986) Winter growth of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis L.: importance of stock and site. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 108: 217–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Moody JA, Butman Bothner MH (1987) Near-bottom suspended matter concentration on the continental shelf during storms: estimates based on in situ observations of light transmission and a particle size dependent transmissometer calibration. Cont. Shelf Res. 7: 609–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Navarro E, Iglesias JIP., Camacho AP, Labarta U, Beiras R (1991) The physiological energetics of mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk) from different cultivation rafts in the Ria de Arosa (Galicia, N.W. Spain). Aquaculture 94: 197–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Newell CR (1990) The effects of mussel (Mytilus edulis, Linnaeus, 1758) position in seeded bottom patches on growth at subtidal lease sites in Maine. J. Shell. Res. 9: 113–118Google Scholar
  53. Newell CR, Shumway SE, Cucci TL, Selvin, R (1989) The effects of natural seston particle size and type on feeding rates, feeding selectivity and food resource availability for the mussel Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 at bottom culture sites in Maine. J. Shellfish Res. 8: 187–196Google Scholar
  54. Newell CR, Shumway SE (1993) Grazing of natural particulates by bivalve molluscs: a spatial and temporal perspective. This volume.Google Scholar
  55. Newell RC, Branch GM (1980) The effects of temperature on the maintenance of metabolic energy balance in marine invertebrates. Adv. Mar. Biol. 17: 329–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Officer CB, Smayda TJ, Mann R (1982) Benthic filter feeding: a natural eutrophication control. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 9: 203–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Page HM, Hubbard DM (1987) Temporal and spatial patterns of growth in mussels Mytilus edulis on an offshore platform: relationships to water temperature and food availability. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 111: 159–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Palanques A, Biscaye PE (1992) Patterns and controls of the suspended matter distribution over the shelf and upper slope south of New England. Cont. Shelf Res. 12: 577–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pérez Comacho A, Gonzalez R, Fuentes J (1991) Mussel culture in Galicia (N.W. Spain). Aquaculture 94: 263–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Peterson CH, Black RW (1991) Preliminary evidence for progressive sestonic food depletion in incoming tide over a broad tidal sand flat. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 32: 405–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pieters H, Kluytmans JH, Zandee DI, Cadee GC (1980) Tissue composition and reproduction of Mytilus edulis in relation to food availability. Neth. J. Sea Res. 14: 449–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Platt, T (1971) The annual production by phytoplankton in St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia. J. Cons. 33: 324–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Platt T, Prakash A, Irwin (1972) Phytoplankton nutrients and flushing of inlets on the coast of Nova Scotia. Naturaliste Can. 99: 253–261Google Scholar
  64. Rhoads DC, Boyer LF, Welsh BL, Hampson GR (1984) Seasonal dynamics of detritus in the benthic turbidity zone (BTZ); implications for bottom-rack molluscan mariculture. Bull. Mar. Sci. 35: 536–549Google Scholar
  65. Riisgård HU (1991) Filtration rate and growth in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758: Dependence on algal concentration. J. Shellfish Res. 10: 29–35Google Scholar
  66. Roden CM, Rodhouse PG, Hensey MP, McMahon T, Ryan TH, Mercer JP (1987) Hydrography and the distribution of phytoplankton in Killary Harbour: a fjord in Western Ireland. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 67: 359–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rodhouse PG, Roden CM (1987) Carbon budget for a coastal inlet in relation to intensive cultivation of suspension-feeding bivalve molluscs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 36: 225–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rodhouse PG, Roden CM, Burnell GM, Hensey MP, McMahon T, Ottway B, Ryan TH (1984) Food resource, gametogenesis, and growth of Mytilus edulis on the shore and in suspended culture: Killary Harbour, Ireland. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 64: 513–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rosenberg R, Loo L-O (1983) Energy-flow in a Mytilus edulis culture in western Sweden. Aquaculture 35: 151–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Shortle JL (1991) The design of a recirculating flume and its use in the investigation of feeding rates in the mussel Mytilus edulis. M.Sc. Thesis, Dalhousie University, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  71. Shumway S, Cucci TL, Newell RC, Yentsch CM (1985) Particle selection, ingestion, and absorption in filter-feeding bivalves. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 91: 77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Smaal AC (1991) The ecology and cultivation of mussels: new advances. Aquaculture 94: 245–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Smaal AC, van Stralen MR (1990) Average annual growth and condition of mussels as a function of food source. Hydrobiologia 195: 179–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Smaal AC, Prins TC (1993) The uptake of organic matter and the release of inorganic nutrients by bivalve suspension feeder beds: a mini-review. This volumeGoogle Scholar
  75. Smaal AC, Verhagen JHG, Coosen J, Haas H (1986) Interaction between seston quantity and quality and benthic suspension feeders in the Oosterschelde, the Netherlands. Ophelia 26: 385–399Google Scholar
  76. Soniat TM, Brody MS (1988) Field validation of a habitat suitability index model for the American oyster. Estuaries 11: 87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stenton-Dozey JME, Brown AC (1992) Clearance and retention efficiency of natural suspended particles by the rock-pool bivalve Venerupis corrugatus in relation to tidal availability. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 82: 175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Thompson JK, Nichols FH (1988) Food availability controls seasonal cycle of growth in Maoma balthica (L.) in San Francisco Bay, California. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 116: 43–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Widdows J (1976) Physiological adaptation of Mytilus edulis to cyclic temperatures. J. Comp. Physiol. 105: 115–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Widdows J (1978) Combined effects of body size, food concentration and season on the physiology of Mytilus edulis. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 58: 109–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Widdows J, Bayne BL (1971) Temperature acclimation of Mytilus edulis with reference to its energy budget. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U. K. 51: 827–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Widdows JP, Fieth P, Worrall CM (1979) Relationships between seston, available food and feeding activity in the common mussel Mytilus edulis. Mar. Biol. 50: 195–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wildish DJ, Kristmanson DD (1979) Tidal energy and sublittoral macrobenthic animals in estuaries. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can. 36: 1197–1206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wildish DJ, Miyares MP (1990) Filtration rate of blue mussels as a function of flow velocity — preliminary experiments. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 142: 213–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wildish D, Kristmanson D (1993) Hydrodynamic control of bivalve filter feeders: A conceptual viewGoogle Scholar
  86. Wulff F, Field JG, Mann KH (eds) (1989) Network analysis in marine ecology: methods and applications. Springer-Verlag BerlinGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Grant
    • 1
  • Michael Dowd
    • 1
  • Keith Thompson
    • 1
  • Craig Emerson
    • 1
  • Annamarie Hatcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations