Spisula subtruncata is an infaunal filter-feeding bivalve, which lives in shallow sandy bottoms (2¿20 m depth) from Norway to the Atlantic coasts of Morocco, including the Mediterranean Sea. Considering that fisheries of this species have become an important economic resource in some European countries (e.g. The Netherlands), it is of great interest to know the seasonal variation in its physiological energetics. For this purpose, individuals of S. subtruncata were collected and maintained under ambient temperature and seawater conditions of Dutch coastal waters. Physiological processes related to the acquisition and utilisation of energy (e.g. clearance rate [CR], absorption and oxygen uptake) were measured under ambient conditions of the period March 1999 to February 2000. Mean annual clearance and respiration rates (RR) were 0.99 l h¿1 and 0.23 ml O2 h¿1 for a standard individual of 250 mg. Values for both clearance and respiration rate were high during spring and summer and low during autumn and winter. Stepwise multiple regression analyses indicated a significant relationship of the clearance rate with temperature and particulate organic matter (POM), whereas respiration rate was significantly related to temperature, absorption rate (AR) of the animals and their reproductive condition. Absorption efficiency (AE) of the food was significantly related to food quality. Scope for growth (SFG) of S. subtruncata, as well as flesh weight of the animals, was high in summer and low in winter.
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