, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 171-178

The biology and ecology of the epifaunal scallop Adamussium colbecki on the west side of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

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Abstract

The biology and ecology of the Antarctic scallop Adamussium colbecki has been investigated on the west side of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, principally at Explorers Cove, during the austral summer of 1981–1982. This conspicuous benthic invertebrate exhibits highest densities, 85 individuals m-2, in shallow (4 to 6 m) water. Densities decrease to 20 m-2 at 30 m. Biomass levels are highest in shallow water, 1 600 g wet wt m-2. Provisional growth information suggests that 8 cm individuals are about 12 yr old. Mortality is apparently caused chiefly by a hyposaline lens of seawater, which forms under the sea ice during the summer melt; predators do not appear to be important. High biomass levels and a short generation time suggest that A. colbecki is an important species in a very productive community on the west side of McMurdo Sound. The shallow benthos of Explorers Cove is an important exception to the generalization that Antarctic ecosystems are dominated by indigestible filter-feeders.

Communicated by N. D. Holland, La Jolla