Users of the mangals


, Volume 247, Issue 1, pp 109-117

First online:

Ecomorphology ofCrassostrea cucullata (Born, 1778) (Ostreidae) in a mangrove creek (Gazi, Kenya)

  • J. F. TackAffiliated withLaboratory of Ecology and Systematics, Free University of Brussels
  • , E. Vanden BergheAffiliated withDept. of Zoology, University of Nairobi
  • , Ph. PolkAffiliated withLaboratory of Ecology and Systematics, Free University of Brussels

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Variations of shell form and shell length were studied for oysters growing in the mangroves of Gazi Creek, Kenya, and related to different environmental factors.

For the study of the form, Fourier analysis was performed on the circumference of 85 oysters. The resulting coefficients were compared among specimens using cluster analysis. The correspondence between this classification and substrate diameter is virtually perfect (only one misclassification out of 85 oysters). For the clusters based on height above chart datum, 9 specimens, all on intermediate height levels, were misclassified. Orientation with respect to tidal current had 13 misclassifications. Mangrove species seemed to influence form only marginally, if at all.

In the study of the size ofCrassostrea cucullata, the length of 956 oysters, growing along two transects were measured, and correlated with several environmental factors. Oyster length was not related to substrate diameter or its orientation with respect to the main current. Length was not influenced by density up to a cover of 70%. For densities higher than 70%, there was a fairly strong negative correlation (r 2 = 0.634,n = 217). Length was not correlated with height above bottom (base of the tree) for heights lower than 20 cm, while oysters growing closer to the bottom were smaller. The correlation with height above chart datum was negative but very low (r 2 = 0.060,n = 957). However, if all measurements of oysters closer than 20 cm to the bottom, and all from a density of more than 70% cover are deleted from the data set, the correlation with height increased dramatically, the slope still being negative (r 2 = 0.859,n = 543).

Key words

Crassostrea cucullata Fourier analysis shell form shell length regression analysis environmental factors