Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Estuarine bivalves recruit to benthic habitats after the larvae are in the planktonic stage. The observed infaunal bivalve density relates to larval supply from adult reproduction during warmer months as well as larval and juvenile mortality post-recruitment. The purpose of this research was to examine annual and seasonal patterns of infaunal bivalve density and richness in the context of habitat water temperature and salinity. Cores were collected biweekly from Bly Creek in North Inlet estuary between January 2019 and February 2020. Temperatures ranged from 9-30 ºC and salinity ranged from ~17-36 psu. Bivalves were sieved out of the cores, counted, photographed, and identified. Maximum bivalve density (7000 n/m3) was observed in December when water temperature was decreasing. Overall species richness was 12 with the most abundant species being Gemma gemma, Mulinia lateralis, and Ameritella texana. Bivalve density appears to be negatively related to both water temperature and historical seasonal trends in known macrofauna predators including white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus), mullet (Mugil cephalus), and spot (Leiostomus xanthurus). Future studies could sample mobile nekton and infaunal bivalves at the same time to evaluate relationships between modern predator and bivalve prey densities simultaneously.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Knowles, Valerie M. and Harding, Juliana, "Infaunal Bivalve Density and Richness in North Inlet Estuary, South Carolina: Seasonal patterns and ecological factors" (2020). Honors Theses. 399.
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