The effect of high flow events on mussels (Mytilus edulis) in the Conwy estuary, North wales, UK

Oliver, Lucie R.; Seed, Raymond; Reynolds, Brian. 2008 The effect of high flow events on mussels (Mytilus edulis) in the Conwy estuary, North wales, UK. Hydrobiologia, 606 (1). 117-127.

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One of the predicted consequences of climate change is an increase in the occurrence of extreme rainfall and a subsequent increase in frequency of high flow events in rivers. High flow events have the potential to impact estuarine communities like mussel assemblages due to decreased salinity and/or the transport of sediments, organic matter and nutrients from the terrestrial environment to the estuary. The impact of two high flow events was investigated using mussels located within the Conwy estuary, North Wales, using the ‘Beyond BACI’ approach. Three study sites were chosen, the potentially impacted site (Conwy) and two control sites located outside the estuary. Sampling took place over 18 months with samples being collected before and after each event. On each sampling occasion, the following data were collected: the total haemocyte count (THC) and condition index (CI) of the mussels and the diversity (Hloge) of their associated macrofauna. A significant effect of the first event (22nd October 2004) was found on the CI of the Conwy mussels, whereas a significant effect of the second event (10th October 2005) was found on mussel THC. No effect of either event was found on the diversity of the associated fauna. The results of this study suggest that any increase in the number or intensity of heavy precipitation or high flow events have potential implications for the health and resilience of estuarine mussel populations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Marine biogeochemical cycles
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0018-8158
Additional Keywords: Estuary, Mussels, Climate change, High flow, Immunology, Diversity
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 May 2008 15:28 +0 (UTC)

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