THE SECRET LIFE OF BLUE MUSSEL …

10 / 05 /2018 – C. Liénart

Mytilus edulis from the Baltic Sea

Every year, mussels (Mytilus edulis) and other species (vegetal and animal) of the phytobenthic community are sampled at different sites in the Baltic sea by the Swedish monitoring program of phytobenthic communities.

After sampling, mussels are counted and oven-dehydrated for a week at 60°C. Then, they are stored dried in aluminum foil, grouped per replicates, transects and station in big cardboard boxes in the basement of the lab… 

This is where fun things starts for me !

 

My study focuses on Mytilus edulis sampled at 5-6m depth on 3 specific sites: one up north in the Bothnian Bay (Höga Kusten), one at Askö (Isskären), a Swedish island well known from marine researchers as it host a very nice scientific station, and a third down south in the Baltic Proper around Gotland Island (Hobourg). 
Sampling occurs once a year at the end of august since 1993.

3 stations used now for this study … hope we can have more soon ! (Vilnius is also tagged as the partner lab where are performed our isotopic analysis)

Information about each individual is recorded

This one has been waiting for 20 years already …

Mussels are measured and weighted (NB: manipulations are usually performed with gloves) and the ‘flesh’ is kept for elemental (C, N and P) and isotopic (δ15N, δ13C and CSIA on amino acid) analysis.

Dessicator to keep the mussels ‘dry’ !

The bivalve M.edulis is a key species in the Baltic Sea as it dominates benthic biomass and strongly influences benthic-pelagic coupling through its suspension-feeding activity. We are studying changes in its diet and aim to detect changes occurring over time, especially regarding the increase of cyanobacterial blooms in the Baltic Sea in the recent decades.  

Studying mussel’s on a long-term perspective in association with environmental parameters like salinity, sea water temperature or phytoplankton communities composition will reveal possible changes in communities structures or functioning in the Baltic Sea ecosystems.

This leads to a better understanding of the ecosystems response to climate- or anthropogenic-related changes. It helps to better predict the evolution of these ecosystems in the future and to adapt management strategies.

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