a1 Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands
Long-term variations in shell growth of the mollusc Arctica islandica (Mollusca, Bivalvia) from the northern North Sea have been assessed retrospectively using the annually deposited internal growth lines. Relatively young specimens yielded a detailed year-to-year chronology while the growth record of specimens older than 30 y yielded a time series with a length exceeding 100 years. The long-term growth trends demonstrated a marked alternating sequence of periods in which growth was below and above expectation. A 33-y long cycle could be discerned. Since the 1960s the growth patterns in Arctica from two nearby locations were opposite, while they resembled each other in the period before 1960.