Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 345–354 | Cite as

Growth line deposition and variability in growth of two circumpolar bivalves (Serripes groenlandicus, and Clinocardium ciliatum)

  • William G. AmbroseJr.
  • Paul E. Renaud
  • William L. LockeV
  • Finlo R. Cottier
  • Jørgen Berge
  • Michael L. Carroll
  • Benjamin Levin
  • Stuart Ryan
Original Paper


Growth patterns of two common circumpolar bivalves, the Greenland cockle (Serripes groenlandicus), and the hairy cockle (Clinocardium ciliatum) have been used in previous studies to reconstruct environmental conditions in the arctic. To date, there has been no direct determination that growth lines in either species are deposited periodically, and there has been no examination of factors affecting growth. We placed calcein-marked individuals of both species on oceanographic moorings in two fjords (Rijpfjord and Kongsfjord) in the Svalbard archipelago for one and two (Kongsfjord only) years. Growth patterns were compared with concurrent in situ temperature and fluorescence data in order to assess environmental controls on growth. Dark growth lines are evident on the outer shell surface and internally in shell cross section in both S. groenlandicus and C. ciliatum, and both species deposited only one line per year, unequivocally confirming that internal lines are deposited annually. Growth line deposition in both species began in late summer to early fall, before the seasonal decline in temperature. There was no difference in growth of S. groenlandicus between the two fjords despite differences in water temperature (3°C), fluorescence (nearly threefold) and the onset and duration of the winter season. C. ciliatum, however, grew approximately 2.8 times faster in the warmer, more food-rich Kongsfjord than in Rijpfjord. Subannual lines were counted in two individuals of each species from each fjord, but deposition of these lines was not clearly related to number of growing days estimated by temperature and fluorescence.


Arctic Sclerochronology Serripes groenlandicus Clinocardium ciliatum Subannual Svalbard 



We are grateful for the work of the officers and crew of R/V Jan Mayen. Technical assistance was provided by M. Duvall and W. Ash from the Bates College Imaging Center, C. Griffiths from SAMS and H. Nygård from UNIS. The research leading to these results has received funding from the Research Council of Norway (IPY-NESSAR), the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement nr. 226248—ATP, ConocoPhilips through the ArcWin grant at UNIS, and a Phillips Faculty Fellowship from Bates College to WGA and funding for mooring operations was received from the Research Council of Norway (MariClim 165112/S30) and the UK Natural Environment Research Council (Oceans 2025 Theme 10). Additional funding was provided by Akvaplan-niva. Comments by Thomas Brey and an anonymous reviewer improved an earlier version of our manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • William G. AmbroseJr.
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul E. Renaud
    • 2
    • 3
  • William L. LockeV
    • 1
  • Finlo R. Cottier
    • 4
  • Jørgen Berge
    • 3
    • 5
  • Michael L. Carroll
    • 2
  • Benjamin Levin
    • 1
  • Stuart Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBates CollegeLewistonUSA
  2. 2.Akvaplan-niva, Fram Centre for Climate and EnvironmentTromsøNorway
  3. 3.University Centre in SvalbardLongyearbyenNorway
  4. 4.Scottish Association for Marine ScienceScottish Marine InstituteOban, ArgyllUK
  5. 5.Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and EconomicsUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway

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