AB 2:119-129 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00041

Biotic and abiotic factors influencing attachment strength of blue mussels Mytilus edulis in suspended culture

A. A. Lachance1, B. Myrand2, R. Tremblay1,*, V. Koutitonsky1, E. Carrington3

1Institut des Sciences de la Mer (ISMER), Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Quebec G5L 3A1, Canada
2Centre Maricole des Îles de la Madeleine, MAPAQ, 107-125 chemin du Parc, Cap-aux-Meules, Quebec G4T 1B3, Canada
3Department of Biology and Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, 620 University Road, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Mussels secrete byssal threads regularly to the substratum, and the strength of these threads can fluctuate with time. The present study examined weekly variations in the attachment strength of 2 yr old cultured mussels Mytilus edulis on submerged longlines in a semi-enclosed lagoon from late May to mid-October. Some possible factors influencing attachment strength were investigated: environmental factors (temperature, food availability, wind velocity and hydrodynamic conditions such as current velocity, turbulence and wave height) and reproductive condition were measured concurrently. Attachment strength was measured directly on cultured mussels using a dynamometer. Attachment strength varied 2-fold from summer to fall, a difference related not only to the number of byssal threads but also to their individual strengths. The hierarchical influence of each factor on attachment strength is discussed. Our results suggest that spawning seemed to be correlated with an important decrease (–32%) in attachment strength, and that water temperature (negative relationship) and turbulence (positive relationship) were the most important factors explaining the variation in mussel attachment strength. In contrast to previous studies carried out in intertidal zones, no trade-offs were observed between reproduction and attachment strength.


KEY WORDS: Mytilus edulis · Attachment strength · Seasonal variation · Byssal threads


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Cite this article as: Lachance AA, Myrand B, Tremblay R, Koutitonsky V, Carrington E (2008) Biotic and abiotic factors influencing attachment strength of blue mussels Mytilus edulis in suspended culture. Aquat Biol 2:119-129. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00041

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