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Reproduction growth distribution and abundance of corbicula in an illinois usa cooling lake

Reproduction growth distribution and abundance of corbicula in an illinois usa cooling lake

Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 32(4): 378-393

The spawning season, growth rate, and population density of Corbicula were examined in the intake, discharge and control arms of Lake Sangchris, a cooling lake for a 1232-MW coal-fired electrical generating station. Clams in areas adjacent to the power plant were studied to aid in controlling this organism, which had the potential of becoming a serious fouling agent at the station. Major spawning seasons were observed in all 3 arms of the lake during the spring and the fall. The average annual growth of clams caged in the discharge arm was significantly greater (P < 0.05) than the growth of clams in the intake and control arms, and was attributed to the extended growth period made possible by the heated water. The annual growth of marked individuals was inversely proportional to original length, small clams growing faster than large clams. Estimates of annual growth based on the growth of caged clams indicated that lengths of 21, 31, 36 and 40 mm were reached by clams caged in the discharge arm after 1, 2, 3 and 4 yr of life, respectively. The Corbicula population density varied inversely with depth; higher concentrations were found in substrates composed of 2-10 cm of loose sand, silt, or clay over hard clay than were found in areas where a thick layer of loose silt was present. In littoral areas, the mean clam density was higher in all sections of the cooling loop (25-67 clams/m2) except the discharge canal than it was in the control arm (8 clams/m2), suggesting that the population in the cooling loop benefitted from power plant operations. A clam die-off apparently occurred in the vicinity of the discharge canal as a result of highly elevated water temperatures (up to 40.degree. C) during the summer of 1975, but by Feb. 1976 the canal had been repopulated. A low survival rate for young-of-the-year individuals (.ltoreq. 5 mm in length) was indicated in Lake Sangchris, because larger clams comprised only 12% of the total clam population. Predation by fishes in the lake was presumed to be a major cause of mortality for smaller clams.

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