Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Metabolic rate and growth in the temperate bivalve Mercenaria mercenaria at a biogeographical limit, from the English Channel

Alastair Browna1 c1, Olaf Heilmayera1 and Sven Thatjea1

a1 National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK

Abstract

Metabolism and growth rate of the hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria, were investigated in a population invasive to Southampton Water, southern England. An individual metabolic model expressed as a function of soft tissue dry mass was fitted to data of 18 individuals (log (VO2) = −1.952 + 0.543 • log (DM); F1,16 = 201.18, P < 0.001, r2 = 0.926). A von Bertalanffy growth function was fitted to 227 size-at-age data pairs of 18 individuals (Ht = 80.13 • (1 − e−0.149 • (t−0.542)); r2 = 0.927). Individual age-specific somatic production was calculated, demonstrating increase with age to a maximum of 3.88 kJ y−1 at ten years old followed by decrease, and individual age-specific annual respiration was calculated, demonstrating asymptotic increase with age to 231.37 kJ y−1 at 30 years old. Results found here lie within the physiological tolerances reported across the biogeographical range, suggesting that the species' biogeographical limitation in the UK to Southampton Water results from ecological rather than physiological factors.

(Received April 27 2009)

(Accepted October 15 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: A. Brown, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK email: aeb405@soton.ac.uk