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Growth and mortality in the ribbed mussel geukensia demissa



Growth and mortality in the ribbed mussel geukensia demissa



Veliger 23(1): 62-69



The mussel, G. demissa, exhibits a pattern of decreasing shell size along an estuarine salinity/temperature gradient, with the largest mussels found in the open coast environment. Data on the size, age and growth rates of G. demissa from 3 locations along the Chesapeake Bay [USA] estuary indicate that mussels from the most marine location have a higher growth rate, but do not live as long as mussels found further into the estuary. This pattern of high growth rates correlated with decreased longevity has been noted previously in local and latitudinal intraspecific variation. The pattern represents phenotypic variation induced by the physical environment. There was no evidence of predation on G. demissa at any study site. Mortality of G. demissa may be attributed to intraspecific competition, where small mobile mussels win in competition for space with older sessile mussels, which are trapped and smothered in growing clumps of mussels. Lack of predation, which could reduce mussel densities and alleviate competition for space, probably allows intraspecific competition to occur.

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