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How to cope in heterogeneous coastal environments: Spatio-temporally endogenous circadian rhythm of valve gaping by mussels
Bertolini, C.; Rubinetti, R.; Umgiesser, G.; Witbaard, R.; Bouma, T.J.; Rubino, A.; Pastres, R. (2021). How to cope in heterogeneous coastal environments: Spatio-temporally endogenous circadian rhythm of valve gaping by mussels. Sci. Total Environ. 768: 145085.
In: Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0048-9697; e-ISSN 1879-1026, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Circadian rhythms; Fluctuating environment; Mytilus galloprovincialis; Transitional coastal zones; Venice lagoon

Authors  Top 
  • Bertolini, C.
  • Rubinetti, R.
  • Umgiesser, G., more
  • Witbaard, R., more
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Rubino, A.
  • Pastres, R.


    Transitional coastal zones are subject to high degrees of temporal fluctuation in environmental conditions, with these patterns varying in space. Gaining an in depth understanding of how sessile organisms cope withand respond to such environmental changes at multiple scales is needed to i) advance fundamental knowledge, ii) predict how organisms may react to stressors and iii) support the management of halieutic resources in transitional coastal areas. We addressed this question using mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) as model system. Valve-gaping sensor were deployed at multiple sites within the southern Venice Lagoon over a period of 6 months, to investigate the existence of periodicity in valve-gaping and its relationship with environmental variables, such as temperature and chlorophyll-a.

    Gaping behaviour was found to have periodic rhythms, of ~12 h and ~ 24 h, which were most pronounced in the inner part of lagoon part and were strongest during summer months. In autumn, the dual periodicity became weaker and mostly the 12 h remained. Gaping was closely linked with tide, but the relationship in terms of phasing varied upon location. Surprisingly, no clear direct relationships were found with chlorophyll-a, but food delivery may be mediated by tide itself. The results highlight the heterogeneity of behaviour and the endogenic nature of circadian rhythms in space and time. These findings have important implications for management of transitional areas where tidal alteration may have impacts on key behaviours, and emphasize the importance of characterizing their rhythms before using these as stress indicator. Moreover, the described tidal relationships should be included in growth models of bivalves in these systems.

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