Climate Change Influences Carrying Capacity in a Coastal Embayment Dedicated to Shellfish Aquaculture

Type Article
Date 2015-09
Language English
Author(s) Guyondet T.1, Comeau L. A.1, Bacher CedricORCID2, Grant J.3, Rosland R.4, Sonier R.1, Filgueira R.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Gulf Fisheries Ctr, Sci Branch, Dept Fisheries & Oceans, Moncton, NB E1C 9B6, Canada.
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Brest, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : Dalhousie Univ, Dept Oceanog, Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada.
4 : Univ Bergen, Dept Biol, N-5020 Bergen, Norway.
Source Estuaries And Coasts (1559-2723) (Springer), 2015-09 , Vol. 38 , N. 5 , P. 1593-1618
DOI 10.1007/s12237-014-9899-x
WOS© Times Cited 48
Keyword(s) Climate change, Nutrient loading, Mussel culture, Carrying capacity, Coastal ecosystem, Numerical modelling
Abstract A spatially explicit coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model was developed to study a coastal ecosystem under the combined effects of mussel aquaculture, nutrient loading and climate change. The model was applied to St Peter's Bay (SPB), Prince Edward Island, Eastern Canada. Approximately 40 % of the SPB area is dedicated to mussel (Mytilus edulis) longline culture. Results indicate that the two main food sources for mussels, phytoplankton and organic detritus, are most depleted in the central part of the embayment. Results also suggest that the system is near its ultimate capacity, a state where the energy cycle is restricted to nitrogen-phytoplankton-detritus-mussels with few resources left to be transferred to higher trophic levels. Annually, mussel meat harvesting extracts nitrogen (N) resources equivalent to 42 % of river inputs or 46.5 % of the net phytoplankton primary production. Under such extractive pressure, the phytoplankton biomass is being curtailed to 1980's levels when aquaculture was not yet developed and N loading was half the present level. Current mussel stocks also decrease bay-scale sedimentation rates by 14 %. Finally, a climate change scenario (year 2050) predicted a 30 % increase in mussel production, largely driven by more efficient utilization of the phytoplankton spring bloom. However, the predicted elevated summer temperatures (> 25 A degrees C) may also have deleterious physiological effects on mussels and possibly increase summer mortality levels. In conclusion, cultivated bivalves may play an important role in remediating the negative impacts of land-derived nutrient loading. Climate change may lead to increases in production and ecological carrying capacity as long as the cultivated species can tolerate warmer summer conditions.
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