Environmental and behavioural factors affecting activity in the intertidal gastropod Hydrobia ulvae

Abstract : Laboratory microcosms were used to investigate the mud snail Hydrobia ulvae (Pennant) bioturbation activities and behavioural changes in response to snail density, algal food, sediment moisture content, light regime and water cover conditions. Density-dependent kinetics of bioturbated muddy areas were described by von Bertalanffy equations, which provided reliable estimates of mud surface covering rates by snail tracks (m2 h−1 snail−1). Snails need a wet habitat to be active either covered by seawater or by moving in fluid layers for low-tide conditions. Light and microphytobenthic biomass, which are less potent to affect snail activity, are positively interrelated to increase covering rates in the tested chl a concentrations within the range of 1–15 μg g−1. Experimental results suggested us the relevance of microphytobenthos migration processes in affecting crawling activities of H. ulvae that appeared to adjust their foraging efforts in response to benthic algal biomass. Behavioural processes of H. ulvae, in terms of floating, crawling, burrowing and inactive snails, were described using a Markov model. Finally, an empirical model based on von Bertalanffy equations was proposed to describe kinetics of sediment covering by snail tracks under the influences of snail density, sediment moisture content, chl a concentrations and the four combinations of presence/absence of light and seawater. This model should provide a base for further development of a hydrosedimentary model to simulate the effects of H. ulvae bioturbation activities on the resuspension of the intertidal cohesive sediment–water interface for various in situ conditions.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 6, 2018 - 5:03:10 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:50:53 PM

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Orvain Francis, Pierre-Guy Sauriau. Environmental and behavioural factors affecting activity in the intertidal gastropod Hydrobia ulvae. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Elsevier, 2002, 272 (2), pp.191 - 216. ⟨https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/journal-of-experimental-marine-biology-and-ecology⟩. ⟨10.1016/S0022-0981(02)00130-2⟩. ⟨hal-01854479⟩

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