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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of salinity, temperature, season and intertidal height on calcium uptake by Mytilus edulis (Linnaeus) Robinson, Donald C. E.


This study has shown that season, salinity, temperature and intertidal height all affect the rate up calcium uptake by mussels. For summer-adapted mussels, calcium uptake was found to be temperature dependent over the range of acute temperatures measured (1°-23°C). When subjected to a range of salinities over a three week period, summer-adapted mussels showed calcium-uptake rates which were salinity dependent from 25%-75% SW, and which did not show any increase in uptake rate in salinities greater than 75% SW. For winter-adapted mussels, calcium uptake was temperature independent over a temperature range from 5°-l7°C. At higher and lower temperatures, uptake was reduced. When subjected to a range of salinities over a three-week period, winter-adapted mussels were also unable to compensate for the lower concentration of calcium in the seawater, and did not show any increase in the uptake rate in salinities greater than 75% SW. It was found that high and low intertidal mussels had different calcium uptake rates, and that transplantation could alter the uptake rate of transplanted mussels to the uptake rate of untransplanted controls. In the intertidal zone a gradient of shell size was found, which could be associated with the change in uptake range over the intertidal range. Differences in immersion time between the two. sites could not explain all of the differences in uptake rate, but high intertidal mussels were found to have less total dry weight of soft parts than low mussels, and correcting for this difference accounted for the the remainder of the difference in calcium-uptake rate between the two sites. The soft parts of the mussel were found to become saturated with ⁴⁵Ca after four hours, while the shell accumulated calcium for the duration of the experiment. The mantle and gill tissue held the same amount of calcium when corrected for differences in weight, while the viscera held a greater pool of calcium. Accounting for real increases in the amount of calcium accumulated by the shell showed that the uptake rates reported in this study are about 59% of the absolute uptake rates.

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