MEPS 518:139-152 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11036

Response of Mytilus edulis to enhanced phytoplankton availability by controlled upwelling in an oligotrophic fjord

Tore Strohmeier1,*, Øivind Strand1, Marianne Alunno-Bruscia1,2, Arne Duinker3, Rune Rosland4, Jan Aure1, Svein R. Erga4, Lars J. Naustvoll5, Henrice M. Jansen1,6, Peter J. Cranford7

1Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
2Ifremer, UMR 6539, 11 Presqu’île du Vivier, 29840 Argenton-en-Landunvez, France
3National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, PO Box 2029 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
4Department of Biology, University of Bergen, PO Box 7803, 5020 Bergen, Norway
5Institute of Marine Research, Nye Flødevig veien 20, 4817 His, Norway
6Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES), PO Box 77, 4400 AB Yerseke, The Netherlands
7Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y4A2, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The controlled upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water in oligotrophic coastal regions has been proposed as a means of increasing phytoplankton and, subsequently, bivalve aquaculture production. This was tested as part of a large-scale upwelling experiment in an oligotrophic environment (Lysefjord, Norway). The mean chlorophyll a concentration in the upwelling area was consistently higher than at the control site (mean ± SD: 3.3 ± 1.9 and 1.5 ± 0.6 mg chl a m-3, respectively) during the 4 mo of controlled upwelling. After 2 mo with upwelling, the dry flesh weight of 1 yr old and 2 yr old mussels was 95% and 24% higher, respectively, than that of the mussels at the control site. The 1 yr old mussels (Mytilus edulis) at the upwelling site achieved up to 2.4-fold higher dry flesh weight compared to the control. Reproductive output was also higher at the upwelling site and only there, spawning of 1 yr old mussels was detected. Standardized clearance and respiration rates showed maximum values during the most intense period of tissue growth. Average ingestion rates were 40% higher at the upwelling than at the control site. Tissue growth and clearance rates were not correlated with the measured seston parameters, suggesting that food acquisition was responsive to other exogenous parameters and/or to increased endogenous energy demands. It was concluded that the sustained upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water in an oligotrophic fjord can increase phytoplankton biomass, resulting in improved mussel growth performance and increased aquaculture production carrying capacity. Thus, controlled upwelling represents a simple but effective ecosystem engineering approach for enhancing human food production.


KEY WORDS: Bivalve aquaculture · Production carrying capacity · Physiology · Fjord ecosystems · Shell growth · Tissue growth


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Cite this article as: Strohmeier T, Strand Ø, Alunno-Bruscia M, Duinker A and others (2015) Response of Mytilus edulis to enhanced phytoplankton availability by controlled upwelling in an oligotrophic fjord. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 518:139-152. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11036

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