, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 137-162

First online:

The physiological ecology of two populations of Mytilus edulis L.

  • B. L. BayneAffiliated withInstitute for Marine Environmental Research
  • , J. WiddowsAffiliated withInstitute for Marine Environmental Research

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Seasonal cycles in the rates of oxygen consumption, feeding, absorption efficiency and ammonia-nitrogen excretion in two populations of Mytilus edulis were measured in the field under ambient conditions and related to body size, the gametogenic cycle, the concentration of suspended particulate matter in the water and temperature. Relationships between the various physiological variables are also considered and protein and energy budgets estimated. Both the “scope for growth” and the “relative maintenance cost” were seasonally variable, demonstrating a minimum capacity for growth in the winter and a maximum capacity in the summer. In one population subjected to abnormally high temperatures in the winter the scope for growth was negative for four or five months between January and May. These population differences are discussed and the potential for using physiological integrations in intra-specific comparisons of fitness is identified.