A century of coping with environmental and ecological changes via compensatory biomineralization in mussels

Telesca, Luca ORCID:; Peck, Lloyd S. ORCID:; Backeljau, Thierry; Heinig, Mario F.; Harper, Elizabeth M.. 2021 A century of coping with environmental and ecological changes via compensatory biomineralization in mussels. Global Change Biology, 27 (3). 624-639.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
Text (Open Access)
© 2020 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
gcb.15417.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (7MB) | Preview


Accurate biological models are critical to predict biotic responses to climate change and human‐caused disturbances. Current understanding of organismal responses to change stems from studies over relatively short timescales. However, most projections lack long‐term observations incorporating the potential for transgenerational phenotypic plasticity and genetic adaption, the keys to resistance. Here, we describe unexpected temporal compensatory responses in biomineralization as a mechanism for resistance to altered environmental conditions and predation impacts in a calcifying foundation species. We evaluated exceptional archival specimens of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis collected regularly between 1904 and 2016 along 15 km of Belgian coastline, along with records of key environmental descriptors and predators. Contrary to global‐scale predictions, shell production increased over the last century, highlighting a protective capacity of mussels for qualitative and quantitative trade‐offs in biomineralization as compensatory responses to altered environments. We also demonstrated the role of changes in predator communities in stimulating unanticipated biological trends that run contrary to experimental predictive models under future climate scenarios. Analysis of archival records has a key role for anticipating emergent impacts of climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1354-1013
Additional Keywords: Climate change, Mytilus, calcification, biomineralisation, compensatory mechanisms, resistance, multiple stressors, museum collections, foundation species
Date made live: 03 Nov 2020 12:39 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...