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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 471:123-134 (2012)  -  DOI:

Site-specific distribution of the bivalve Scrobicularia plana along the European coast

Sílvia Santos1,*, Geert Aarts1,2, Pieternella C. Luttikhuizen1, Joana Campos3, Theunis Piersma1,4, Henk W. van der Veer1

1NIOZ - Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg Texel, The Netherlands
2Wageningen IMARES- Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies, PO Box 68, 1970 AB IJmuiden, The Netherlands
3CIMAR/CIIMAR − Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental—Universidade do Porto, Rua dos Bragas,
289, 4050−123 Porto, Portugal
4Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103,
9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: The development and maintenance of spatial patterns and the way they affect the dynamics of populations and ecosystems is a key issue in ecology. Since each individual and each species experiences the environment on a unique range of scales, it is vital to determine the spatial scales across which organisms interact with each other and the structuring influence of their environments, which can be achieved by analyzing species’ distribution patterns. Here, the spatial variation in the distribution of Scrobicularia plana is described for 4 intertidal areas along the species’ distributional range. Spatial autocorrelation correlograms based on Moran’s coefficient reveal that while the Trondheim (Norway) population was randomly distributed, at Minho (Portugal), the Westerschelde, and the Wadden Sea (both in The Netherlands) populations were aggregated. Patch diameter varied from 150 to 1250 m, in Minho and Westerschelde, respectively; while in the Wadden Sea, patches of 4 to 10 km were detected. Comparisons of spatial patterns with those of other co-occurring bivalve species (Abra tenuis, Cerastoderma edule, and Macoma balthica) revealed that S. plana’s distribution was generally patchier. The distribution of S. plana was correlated with sediment type at Westerschelde and Trondheim, but not Minho. The observed differences in distribution patterns and their correlation with environmental factors reveal that spatial patterns of S. plana are site-specific rather than species-specific.

KEY WORDS: Distribution · Intertidal · Larval settlement · Moran’s I · Patchiness · Sediment type · Spatial autocorrelation analysis

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Cite this article as: Santos S, Aarts G, Luttikhuizen PC, Campos J, Piersma T, van der Veer HW (2012) Site-specific distribution of the bivalve Scrobicularia plana along the European coast. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 471:123-134.

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