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A 2-yr field study of growth in the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.) at four locations in San Francisco Bay, California, U.S., showed that the timing and rate of growth (increase in shell length) were related to food supply. This clam feeds on both planktonic and benthic microalgae, depending on availability. Growth was apparently food-limited during some months, during one year more than the other, and at some locations more than others. Tissue-weight changes were also related to food availability. The heaviest animals were found in that year and at those locations with the highest chl a concentrations. Tissue-weight gains usually coincided with increased shell-growth rate or with reproductive development, although some large animals showed weight gain independent of both of these factors during periods with mid-range chl a levels. Weight losses coincided with spawning or periods of low growth rate, except at one station where, during a period when most animals were reproductively ripe, food concentrations were high, and shell growth was rapid, animals lost weight. This study failed to show a relation between salinity and the timing or rate of change of either shell length or tissue weight. The mild temperatures (10-23 ??C water temperature) of the area studied resulted in no growth inhibition due to low temperature, but there was some indication that the high air temperatures found in these intertidal areas limited growth rates. ?? 1988.
Additional Publication Details
Food availability controls seasonal cycle of growth in Macoma balthica (L.) in San Francisco Bay, California
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology