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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 472:141-154 (2013)  -  DOI:

Growth and size-dependent loss of newly settled bivalves in two distant regions of the Wadden Sea

Henrike Andresen1,*, Ine Dorresteijn1, Jaap van der Meer1,2

1Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Den Burg (Texel) 1790 AB, The Netherlands
2Department of Theoretical Biology, Free University, Amsterdam 1081 HV, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: Individual growth and the timing of life history events determine the course of individual body sizes. Hence, these factors can influence size-dependent species interactions, such as predation. In the Wadden Sea, predation by crustaceans plays an important role in the survival of pre-recruit bivalves. To investigate growth rates and size-dependent loss in 2 distant regions of the Wadden Sea, in situ marking with the fluorochrome calcein was combined with cage experiments. Through marking, we obtained, for the first time, size-increment data for the fragile newly settled juveniles of the species Macoma balthica and Cerastoderma edule in the field. Growth and size-selective mortality were analysed separately, whereas hitherto both have usually been inferred from size distributions at this life stage. Fluorescent marking also revealed that growth rates were very variable among individuals. Growth was temporarily higher at Texel than at Sylt in both species. In combination with the exclosure experiments and the sampling of predators and migrating bivalves, selective loss of smaller individuals was detected in both regions and was related to predation pressure. Climate influences on phenology have potentially strong effects on species interactions, altering survival and thus recruitment and population dynamics.

KEY WORDS: Individual marking · Predator-exclusion experiments · Benthic invertebrates · Soft‑bottom intertidal · Early life history · Post-settlement mortality · Fluorescent dye · Bivalvia

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Cite this article as: Andresen H, Dorresteijn I, van der Meer J (2013) Growth and size-dependent loss of newly settled bivalves in two distant regions of the Wadden Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 472:141-154.

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