Bivalve Chemosymbioses on Mudflats

  • Suzanne C. DufourEmail author
Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 7)


Mudflat sediments are typically enriched in reduced sulfur compounds, which can fuel bacterial chemoautotrophic production. Symbiotic associations between marine bivalves and chemolithoautotrophic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria are common in sulfur-rich marine habitats, and the presence of infaunal chemosymbiotic bivalves in mudflats is reviewed herein. Chemosymbiotic bivalves from the families Lucinidae, Solemyidae and Thyasiridae have been reported to inhabit intertidal sediments, especially within, or near seagrass beds or mangroves; of the three families, the Lucinidae can be particularly abundant. Chemosymbiotic bivalves can alter chemical conditions in sediments, influence carbon and sulfur cycles, and provide a food source to invertebrates, birds and humans. In general, chemosymbiotic bivalves are uncommon in mudflats, despite the abundance of reduced sulfur, and reasons for their relative paucity in intertidal sediments are discussed.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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