Combining heat-transfer and energy budget models to predict local and geographic patterns of mortality in Mediterranean intertidal mussels

Gianluca Sara', Kearney, Helmuth

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59 Citazioni (Scopus)


Recent studies have emphasised that organisms can experience physiological stress well within theirgeographic range limits. Developing methods for mechanistically predicting the presence, absence andphysiological performance of organisms is therefore important because of the ongoing effects of climatechange. In this study, we merged a biophysical–ecological (BE) model that estimates the aquatic (hightide) and aerial (low tide) body temperatures of Mytilus galloprovincialis with a Dynamic Energy Budget(DEB) model to predict growth, reproduction and mortality of this Mediterranean mussel in both intertidaland subtidal environments. Using weather and chlorophyll-a data from three Mediterranean sites alongthe Italian coasts, we show that predictions of sublethal and lethal (acute) stress can potentially explainthe observed distribution (both presence and absence) of mussels in the intertidal and subtidal zones,and the maximum size of animals in the subtidal zones. Importantly, our results suggest that differentmechanisms limit the intertidal distribution of mussels, and that these mechanisms do not follow a simplelatitudinal gradient. At the northernmost site (Palermo), M. galloprovincialis appears to be excluded fromthe intertidal zone due to persistent exposure to lethal aerial temperatures, whereas at the southernmostsites (Porto Empedocle and Lampedusa) sublethal stress is the most important driver of mussel intertidaldistribution. Our predictions provide a set of hypotheses for future work on the role of climate change inlimiting intertidal distribution of mussels in the Mediterranean.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)135-145
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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