On direct measurement of pumping rates in the mussel Mytilus edulis

P. Famme*, H. U. Riisgård, C. B. Jørgensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Pumping rates in Mytilus edulis L. were measured by means of a “constant-level-tank” method, in which hydrostatic pressure differences between inhalant and exhalant water levels were recorded by means of a laser beam reflected from a tethered mirror floating on the water surface. Hydrostatic pressure gradients were determined to ±0.05 mm H2O or better. The developed technique of directly measuring pumping rates in mussels is not subject to the artefacts of other methods. The pumping rates measured in M. edulis were substantially higher than those previously determined by means of direct techniques, but similar to the maximum filtration rates, as obtained by means of two indirect techniques, i.e. about 50 ml min-1 for a 0.15 g dry weight mussel. Positive hydrostatic pressures drastically affected water pumping. The pumping rate decreased linearly with increasing hydrostatic pressures towards a maximum pump pressure between 3 and 5 mm H2O. Negative pressures only affected the pumping rate slightly or insignificantly, except when the mussels were exposed to rapidly increasing negative pressures. Under this condition a shunt was presumably established between the inner demibranchs, allowing water to bypass the gills.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Biology: International Journal on Life in Oceans and Coastal Waters
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)323-327
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jan 1986


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