Temperature responses in larvae of Macoma balthica from a northerly and southerly population of the European distribution range

J Drent*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Planktonic marine invertebrate embryos and larvae experience high mortality rates. Processes during these early vulnerable stages of development are an important determinant of the dynamics of marine invertebrate populations. In order to evaluate possible specific local adaptations of the bivalve Macoma balthica (L.), larvae from parents living in Norway (Balsfjord) and France (Gironde Estuary) were reared in the laboratory at 10, 15 and 20 degreesC. The rate of growth and the time it took to develop a foot were measured. Larvae grew faster and developed quicker at higher temperatures. This was true for both origins tested. Within temperature treatments, the French larvae always developed and grew fastest. Size at metamorphosis (defined as the appearance of the foot) was 250 gm (SD = 12.7) in five out of the six cases; the only exception was Norwegian larvae kept at the highest temperature that metamorphosed at a smaller size (229 mum, SD = 6.4). Size at metamorphosis thus appears to be largely independent of temperature. In both populations, instantaneous survival rates declined with temperature with no effect of origin. Instantaneous survival declined faster with temperature than development rates increased, resulting in lower net survival of larvae to metamorphosis at the higher temperatures. Although the French larvae had a shorter development time at the same temperature than the Norwegian larvae, the total survival of larvae from the two origins was not significantly different. The larvae of M balthica of both populations prove to be tolerant to considerably higher rearing temperatures than they will ever experience in their natural habitat. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberPII S0022-0981(02)00141-7
    Pages (from-to)117-129
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 30-Aug-2002


    • reaction norm
    • developmental plasticity
    • development time
    • survival
    • metamorphosis
    • marine invertebrate larvae
    • Baltic tellin
    • Balsfjord
    • Gironde
    • GROWTH

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