MEPS 573:157-165 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12182

Thermal time explains size-at-age variation in molluscs

Franziska Broell1,*, J. Scott P. McCain1,2, Christopher T. Taggart1

1Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
2Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Temperature strongly influences growth and development in most ectotherms. The thermal integral, or growing degree day (GDD) metric (°C d), has been widely used to characterize plant, insect, and more recently fish growth and development variation. However, the GDD has not been widely examined among molluscan species. We examined 42 different sets of data drawn from the literature representing temperature-dependent growth and development variation among a variety of bivalve, cephalopod and gastropod species. We demonstrate that thermal time (GDD) is better able to explain temperature-dependent variation in size-at-age and size-at-stage compared to calendar time (d) and conclude that thermal time is the appropriate metric to use when assessing variation in growth and development among molluscs. We also address how thermal time may lead to more accurate comparisons among populations and how it may help diagnose other factors influencing growth variation.


KEY WORDS: Growing degree day · Thermal time · Molluscs · Bivalves · Cephalopods · Gastropods · Growth · Development


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Cite this article as: Broell F, McCain JSP, Taggart CT (2017) Thermal time explains size-at-age variation in molluscs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 573:157-165. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12182

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