, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 71–80

The role of the mussel (Mytilus edulis L.) and mussel culture in the Dutch Wadden Sea


  • Norbert Dankers
    • DLO Institute for Forestry and Nature Research
  • Duurt R. Zuidema
    • Research and Consultancy Agency ORCA Aquatic Ecosystems

DOI: 10.2307/1352283

Cite this article as:
Dankers, N. & Zuidema, D.R. Estuaries (1995) 18: 71. doi:10.2307/1352283


Mussel populations (Mytilus edulis) in the Dutch Wadden Sea (intertidal mussel beds, subtidal beds and culture plots), the culture methods, the extent of mussel culture, and the ecology of the mussel are described. Mussels filter suspended matter from the water column and deposit it as feces and pseudofeces. Mussel beds consume large amounts of phytoplankton and speed up the cycle of production and breakdown of organic matter. There are indications that the consumption of phytoplankton can lead to food shortage for several animal groups. Mussels serve as an important food source for a wide range of organisms (e.g., starfish, eider ducks, and oystercatchers). Because mussel culture increased the mussel biomass in the Dutch Wadden Sea, the impact also increased. The most obvious impact of the culture is the dredging of seed mussels. Overexploitation of intertidal mussel and cockle beds and bad spatfall of both mussels and cockles since 1988 had a negative impact on bird populations. The extent of positive and negative aspects of mussel culture depends on natural and human influences. The negative aspects may (partly) be overcome by appropriate measures. *** DIRECT SUPPORT *** A01BY069 00007

Download to read the full article text

Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 1995