Advertisement

Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 11, pp 1357–1363 | Cite as

Subtidal populations of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis as key determinants of waterfowl flocks in the southeastern Barents Sea

  • A. A. SukhotinEmail author
  • Yu. V. Krasnov
  • K. V. Galaktionov
Original Paper

Abstract

Ornithological surveys conducted over the Pechora Sea (the southeastern part of the Barents Sea) in the 1990 s revealed huge non-nesting flocks of marine ducks, the largest in the European North. Especially dense waterfowl aggregations are constantly observed at the shallows near Dolgij Island during molting period and migration to wintering places. All the marine ducks flocking there are specialized benthos feeders predominantly consuming mussels Mytilus edulis. At the same time, numerous previous benthic studies in the Pechora Sea did not reveal mussels near Dolgij Island where benthic biomass was somewhat lower than in the adjacent areas (Denisenko in Mar Ecol Prog Ser 258:109–123. 2003) which left the food source for these abundant bird flocks enigmatic. In the course of an expedition in summer 2007 we found subtidal populations of M. edulis in shallows to the southwest of Dolgij Island. These populations were confined to a coastal zone and were characterized by a highly disjunct distribution with the biomass reaching up to 4 kg m−2. We describe these subtidal populations as well as an intertidal mussel population on the western shore of Dolgij Island.

Keywords

Mytilus edulis Marine ducks Barents Sea Mussel population Mussel distribution Benthos 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are indebted to Prof. Victor Ja. Berger for his help with organization of the expedition. We are grateful to Dr. Stanislav Denisenko, Dr. Howard Feder and Dr. David Norton for valuable consultations, comments and suggestions during the preparation of the manuscript. Special thanks are due to the crew of the scientific research vessel “Professor Vladimir Kuznetsov” and her captain, Jan E. Stelmakh, whose high professional skills made possible the work in the shallows off Dolgij Island. We thank Alexander Plotkin for his expertise in sponges species determination. The study was supported by the grants from INTAS (Ref. no. 05–1000008-8056) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (no. 07-04-10083-k).

References

  1. Adrov NM, Denisenko SG (1996) Oceanographic characteristics of the Pechora Sea. In: Matishov GG, Tarasov GA, Denisenko SG, Denisov VV, Galaktionov KV (eds) Biogeocenoses of glacial shelf of the western Arctic seas. Publishing Company of the Kola Branch of the Russian Acad Sci, Apatity, pp 166–179 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  2. Beer TL (1979) Ecology of the Sea Star Asterias rubens in the White Sea. PhD Dissertation, Moscow State University, Moscow (in Russian)Google Scholar
  3. Berge J, Johnsen G, Nilsen F, Gulliksen B, Slagstad D (2005) Ocean temperature oscillations enable reappearance of blue mussels Mytilus edulis in Svalbard after a 1000 year absence. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 303:167–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beukema JJ, Dekker R (2005) Decline of recruitment success in cockles and other bivalves in the Wadden Sea: possible role of climate change, predation on postlarvae and fisheries. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 287:149–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bianki VV, Boyko NS, Shutova EV (1995) Foraging of birds and its role in marine ecosystems. In: Berger VJa (ed) The White Sea. Biological resources and the problems of their rational utilization. Part II. Zoological Institute, St. Petersburg, pp 153–179 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  6. Bufalova EN, Strelkov PP, Katolikova MV, Sukhotin AA, Kozin MB (2005) Mytilus of the Tuva Bay (Kola Bay, Barents Sea). Vestnik SPBGU 3:99–105 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  7. Carroll ML, Highsmith RC (1996) Role of catastrophic disturbance in mediating Nucella-Mytilus interactions in the Alaskan rocky intertidal. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 138:125–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Conlan KE, Lenihan NS, Kvitek RG, Oliver JS (1998) Ice scour disturbance to benthic communities in the Canadian High Arctic. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 166:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dahle S, Denisenko SG, Denisenko NV, Cochrane SJ (1998) Benthic fauna in the Pechora Sea. Sarsia 28:183–210Google Scholar
  10. Dare PJ (1982) Notes of the swarming behaviour and population density of Asterias rubens L. (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) feeding on the mussel, Mytilus edulis L. ICES J Mar Sci 40:112–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Denisenko SG (2006) Long-term changes of zoobenthos in the Pechora Sea. Proc Russ Geogr Soc 138(2):37–48 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  12. Denisenko SG, Denisenko NV, Dahle S (1995) Baseline Russian investigations of the bottom fauna in the southeastern part of the Barents Sea. In: Skjolda HR, Hopkins C, Erikstad KE, Leinaas HP (eds) Ecology of fjords and coastal waters. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 293–302Google Scholar
  13. Denisenko SG, Denisenko NV, Lehtonen KK, Andersin A-B, Laine AO (2003) Macrozoobenthos of the Pechora Sea (SE Barents Sea): community structure and spatial distribution in relation to environmental conditions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 258:109–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Denisenko NV, Denisenko SG, Lehtonen KK, Andersin AB, Sandler HR (2007) Zoobenthos of the Cheshskaya Bay (southeastern Barents Sea): spatial distribution and community structure in relation to environmental factors. Polar Biol 30:735–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Faldborg K, Jensen KT, Maagaard L (1994) Dynamics, growth, secondary production and elimination by waterfowl of an intertidal population of Mytilus edulis L. Ophelia 6(Suppl.):187–200Google Scholar
  16. Feder HM, Norton DW, Geller JB (2003) A review of apparent 20th century changes in the presence of mussels (Mytilus trossulus) and Macroalgae in Arctic Alaska, and of historical and paleontological evidence used to relate mollusc distributions to climate change. Arctic 56:391–407Google Scholar
  17. Gavrilo MV, Strøm H (2005) Ration of king eiders (Somateria spectabilis), molting in the Pechora Sea. In: Anseriformes of the N Eurasia. Proceedings of the 3rd international symposium October 6–10, 2005, St. Petersburg, pp 72–73 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  18. Gaymer CF, Himmelman JH (2002) Deep mussel beds provide an unusual situation for competitive interactions between the seastars Leptosterias polaris and Asterias vulgaris. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 277:13–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gaymer CF, Himmelman JH, Johnson LE (2001) Distribution and feeding ecology of the seastars Leptosterias polaris and Asterias vulgaris in the Northern Gulf of St. Laurence, Canada. J Mar Biol Assoc U.K. 81:827–848CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gosling EM (1992) Systematics and geographic distribution of Mytilus. In: Gosling E (ed) The mussel Mytilus: ecology, physiology, genetics and culture. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 1–20Google Scholar
  21. Guryanova EF (1925) On the composition and distribution of benthos in Cheshskaya Bay. Proceedings of the Institute of the Studies of the North, Moscow, 43 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  22. Isaksen K, Strøm H, Gavrilo M, Krasnov Yu (2000) Distribution of seabirds and waterfowl in the Pechora Sea, with emphasis on post-breeding marine ducks. In: Strøm H, Isaksen K, Golovkin AN (eds) Seabirds and wildfowl surveys in the Pechora Sea during August 1998. Norwegian Ornithological Society. Report 2-2000, pp 7–44Google Scholar
  23. Hummel H, Colucci F, Bogaards RF, Strelkov P (2001) Genetic traits in the bivalve Mytilus from Europe, with an emphasis on Arctic populations. Polar Biol 24:44–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Krasnov YuV, Shavykin AA (2005) Monitoring of marine birds in the Barents Sea: problems and perspectives. In: Matishov GG (ed) Contemporary information and biological technologies in development of resources of shelf seas. Nauka, Moscow, pp 141–156 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  25. Krasnov YuV, Goryaev YuI, Shavykin AA, Nikolaeva NG, Gavrilo MV, Chernook VI (2002) Atlas of the Pechora Sea birds: distribution, abundance, dynamics, problems of protection. Publishing Company of the Kola Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Apatity, 164 pp (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  26. Krasnov YuV, Gavrilo MV, Chernook VI (2004) Distribution of birds over the Pechora Sea: data of aerial surveys. Zool Z 83:449–458 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  27. Krasnov YuV, Shklyarevich GA, Goryaev YuI (2008) Feeding of king eider (Somateria spectabilis) during their molting in shallow areas of the southeastern part of the Pechora Sea. Kazarka (in Russian) (in press)Google Scholar
  28. Lukanin VV, Naumov AD, Fedyakov VV (1986) Cyclic development of Mytilus edulis L. populations in the White sea. Proc USSR Acad Sci (Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR) 287(5):1274–1277 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  29. Maximovich NV, Guerassimova AV (2003) Life history characteristics of the clam Mya arenaria in the White Sea. Helgoland Mar Res 57:91–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Morisita M (1959) Measuring of the dispersal of individuals and analysis of the distributional patterns. Memoirs of the Faculty of Science, Kyushu University Series E, Biology, vol 2, pp 215–235Google Scholar
  31. Norton DW, Feder HM (2006) Mytilus thermophily? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 309:301–303Google Scholar
  32. Petraitis PS (1990) Direct and indirect effects of predation, herbivory and surface rugosity on mussel recruitment. Oecologia 83:405–413Google Scholar
  33. Ridgway G, Naevdal G (2004) Genotypes of Mytilus from waters of different salinity around Bergen, Norway. Helgoland Mar Res 58:104–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Saier B (2001) Direct and indirect effects of seastars Asterias rubens on mussel beds (Mytilus edulis) in the Wadden Sea. J Sea Res 46:29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Scott DA, Rose PM (1996) Atlas of Anatidae populations in Africa and Western Eurasia. Wetlands International, Wageningen, 336 ppGoogle Scholar
  36. Seed R (1969) The ecology of Mytilus edulis L. (Lamellibranchiata) on exposed rocky shores. Growth Mortal Oecologia 3:317–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Stephens DW, Krebs JR (1986) Foraging theory. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  38. Strelkov PP (2003) Population structure of Mytilus edulis and Macoma balthica (Mollusca: Bivalvia) from the White and Barents seas. PhD Dissertation, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg (in Russian)Google Scholar
  39. Sukhotin AA, Strelkov PP, Maximovich NV, Hummel H (2007) Growth and longevity of Mytilus edulis (L.) from northeast Europe. Mar Biol Res 3:155–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Theisen BF (1973) The growth of Mytilus edulis L. (Bivalvia) from Disko and Thule district, Greenland. Ophelia 12:59–77Google Scholar
  41. Ueno S, Tomaru N, Yoshimaru H, Manabe T, Yamamoto S (2000) Genetic structure of Camellia japonica L. in an old-growth evergreen forest, Tsushima, Japan. Mol Ecol 9:647–656PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Węsławski JM, Zajączkowski M, Wiktor J, Szymelfenig M (1997) Intertidal zone of Svalbard. 3. Littoral of a subarctic, oceanic island: Bjornoya. Polar Biol 18:45–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zatzepin VI, Zenkevitch LA, Filatova ZA (1948) Materials on quantitative analysis of the Kola Bay littoral bottom fauna. In: Ryabchikov PI (ed) Proc of the State Oceanographical Institute 6(18), Gydrometeorologicheskoe Izdatel’stvo, Moscow–Leningrad, pp 13–54 (in Russian)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Sukhotin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yu. V. Krasnov
    • 3
  • K. V. Galaktionov
    • 1
  1. 1.White Sea Biological StationZoological Institute of Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Murmansk Marine Biological Institute of Russian Academy of SciencesMurmanskRussia

Personalised recommendations