Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Juliana M. Harding


Marine benthic bivalves are consumed by higher trophic levels. Bivalve species richness and density depend on temperature, salinity, and location. Biweekly core samples were collected from Bly Creek from 12/2017 to 12/2018. Benthic macrofaunal bivalves were counted and identified to describe density and species richness. Bivalves were also photographed for species identification. Bivalves composed 0% to 17% of the total macrofauna. The maximum bivalve density (8,149 bivalves/m2) was recorded on December 23, 2018. The fewest bivalves were observed from December 2017 through March 2018. Eight bivalve species were recorded during 2018; at least one species was present year-round. Bivalve density and richness increased with increasing water temperatures from March through April 2018 before decreasing throughout the warmest months of 2018 with a subsequent increase to the maximum observed value in December 2018. A salinity minima during September 2018 from Hurricane Florence did not cause a decrease in the Bly Creek infaunal bivalve density. It is likely that the lower salinities after Hurricane Florence disrupted the seasonal habitat use patterns of transient mobile nekton that consume bivalves. An absence or reduction of predators could have combined with a late or delayed recruitment resulting in the observed bivalve maximum density in December 2018.

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