How to toughen up your mussels: Using mussel shell morphological plasticity to reduce predation losses

Helen A. Beadman, R. Caldow, Michel Kaiser, R. Willows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Improvements in stocking strategy and management could increase the yield of mussels that are on-grown from harvested wild seed mussel resources and thereby enhance the sustainability of this shellfishery. A field experiment was undertaken to ascertain shell characteristics (compression strength and thickness) of seed mussels grown at different shore heights, whether these characteristics changed after a period of growth under identical conditions, and if these characteristics reduced predation losses by crabs and birds. Results indicated that mussels grown at higher shore levels attained shell characteristics beneficial to predation resistance and that these were maintained after a period of growth at a lower shore level. A novel management plan for mussel cultivation was formulated from the results of this study by manipulating shore position according to the attainment of these predator resistant shell attributes and the spatial distribution of the main natural mussel predators (crabs and birds). This technique was expanded to address the mussel cultivation problem of low natural seed settlement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Biology
Volume142
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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