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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 8:311-329 (2016)  -  DOI:

Magnitude, spatial scale and optimization of ecosystem services from a nutrient extraction mussel farm in the eutrophic Skive Fjord, Denmark

Pernille Nielsen1,*, Peter J. Cranford2, Marie Maar3, Jens Kjerulf Petersen1

1DTU Aqua, Danish Shellfish Center, Øroddevej 80, 7900 Nykøbing Mors, Denmark
2Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, 1 Challenger Dr., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B4C 4C9, Canada
3Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience, PO Box 358, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Suspended mussel aquaculture has been proposed as a possible mechanism by which to remove excess nutrients from eutrophic marine areas. In this study, seasonal mussel growth and water clarification (through seston and phytoplankton depletion) were studied at a commercial-scale nutrient extractive mussel farm in a highly eutrophic Danish fjord. Spatial variations in mussel biomass were examined throughout the year and no significant differences were detected within the farm. Food depletion by mussels was examined at spatial scales ranging from individuals to the entire farm and surrounding area. Phytoplankton depletion on the scale of individual mussel loops, determined using the siphon mimic approach, indicated between 27 and 44% depletion of chlorophyll a (chl a). Farm-scale depletion was detected and visualized based on intensive 3D spatial surveys of the distribution of chl a and total suspended particulate matter concentrations both inside and outside the farmed area. Average reductions in food supply within the farm ranged from 13 to 31%, with some areas showing >50% food depletion. A food depletion model was developed to estimate the optimal mussel density required to maximize removal of excess phytoplankton. The model employed mussel clearance rate estimates derived from the observed magnitude of food depletion within the farm. Model results indicate that the mussel population filtration rate could be increased by 80 to 120% without any negative feedback on mussel growth. This could be accomplished by approximately doubling the standing stock of mussels in the farm, hence doubling the amount of nutrients removed at mussel harvest.

KEY WORDS: Food depletion · Mussel feeding · Phytoplankton · Mytilus edulis · Nutrient extraction · Depletion model

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Cite this article as: Nielsen P, Cranford PJ, Maar M, Petersen JK (2016) Magnitude, spatial scale and optimization of ecosystem services from a nutrient extraction mussel farm in the eutrophic Skive Fjord, Denmark. Aquacult Environ Interact 8:311-329.

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