Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 6, pp 1283–1293 | Cite as

Effects of El Niño-Southern oscillation on the population dynamics of the tropical bivalve Donax dentifer from Málaga bay, Colombian Pacific

  • José M. Riascos V.Email author
Research Article


The population dynamics of a Donax dentifer (Hanley, 1843) population from Málaga bay, Colombia, was studied during two periods (August 1997–July 1998 and November 1999–February 2002) in order to investigate the effects of El Niño (EN) 1997/1998 and La Niña (LN) 1998/2000. The EN–LN cycle was strongly associated to an interannual precipitation and salinity variability in Málaga bay. Additionally, these factors were highly correlated with the reproductive cycle. Results indicate that EN had negative effects on the reproductive cycle, leading to weak, abnormal spawning events. In contrast, good spawning events were recorded during LN and post-LN. Based on these findings, an opportunistic reproductive strategy is proposed for this species. Overall growth performance (P) was higher during LN (P=4.41) than during EN and post-LN (P=4.20, P=4.28, respectively). These results indicate that D. dentifer has a higher overall growth performance compared to several tropical species reported in the literature. Total mortality rate of small individuals was higher during LN whereas that of large individuals was higher during EN. These results are best explained by recruitment variability and spatial differences between recruits and adults. Individual production and productivity were higher during LN, although annual biomass was relatively low. This, together with the results regarding growth and reproduction, suggests that food availability was higher during LN, thus positive effects under LN may be concluded. In contrast, EN seems to have negative effects on growth, reproduction and somatic production for this surf clam.


Southern Oscillation Index Length Class Total Annual Production Pool Length Tropical Estuarine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was financed by the Biological Impact Network of EN events (RIBEN-OEA) and was finished in the framework of CENSOR (Climate variability and ENSO: implications for natural coastal resources and management) financed by the European Commission. Dr Jürgen Laudien gave valuable comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. Special thanks to Norma Ibon Rallón who provided permanent intellectual stimulation. Angela Perez, Angela Navarrete and Cristina Murillo supported field and laboratory work. My gratitude is expressed to Luis Alonso Zapata, Germán Parra and Thomas J. Ashton. All the experiments conducted in this study comply with the current laws of Colombia. This is CENSOR publication 002.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología Bentónica, Instituto de Investigaciones OceanológicasUniversidad de AntofagastaAntofagastaChile
  2. 2.Laboratorio de ZoologíaMuseo de Ciencias Naturales “Federico C. Lehmann”-INCIVACaliColombia

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