Mortality of marine mussels Mytilus edulis and M. galloprovincialis: systematic literature review of risk factors and recommendations for future research

The aim of this study was to summarise the literature reporting the risk factors for mortality in the mussel species Mytilus edulis and Mytilus galloprovincialis in order to identify potential science‐based solutions to prevent or mitigate mussel mortality outbreaks. We followed the PRISMA methodology: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses. The studied corpus of 91 publications (114 studies) was highly heterogeneous with respect to the methodological approaches used to define or estimate mussel mortality and the related putative risk factors. Results showed that the mortality risk of both mussel species M. edulis and M. galloprovincialis varied across the seasons, increased with an elevated seawater temperature above a thermal threshold of 20 and 24°C, respectively, decreased by protecting mussels from predation, and was associated with the presence of pathogens in M. edulis. For M. galloprovincialis, using mussel spat from the same area where the farming is carried out and farming them together with another mussel species appears to reduce the mortality risk. However, for M. edulis, this could be achieved by using pure crosses and in particular mussel spat having a selected genotype. For wild bed conservation, sand accumulation and anthropogenic sedimentation should be minimised. Our analysis showed that current approaches to this research topic are limited and are unlikely to yield actionable evidence to identify mussel mortality prevention or mitigation strategies. Therefore, recommendations are offered to increase the ability of future eco‐epidemiological research to identify multiple exposures associated with mussel mortality, underpinned by standardised efforts and cooperative initiatives.


eco-epidemiology, environment, husbandry practices, mussel health, pathogens

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Appendix S1. Search equation used for searches in the Web of Science database.
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Appendix S2. Citations excluded at the full‐text examination step and reasons for their exclusion (N=117 citations).
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Appendix S3. Table synthetising key results of the 114 studies included in the narrative synthesis.
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Appendix S4. Graphical solution of the MCA on the first and second factorial axis, which explained, respectively, 15.5% and 12.5% of the total inertia of the 14 variables, for descriptive ...
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How to cite
Lupo Coralie, Bougeard Stéphanie, Le Bihan Véronique, Blin Jean Louis, Allain Gwenhael, Azéma Patrick, Benoit Fabienne, Béchemin Christian, Bernard Ismaël, Blachier Philippe, Brieau Léa, Danion Morgane, Garcia Aurélie, Gervasoni Erika, Glize Philippe, Lainé Audrey, Lapègue Sylvie, Mablouké Cécile, Poirier Laurence, Raymond Jean Christophe, Treilles Michael, Chauvin Claire, Le Bouquin Sophie (2021). Mortality of marine mussels Mytilus edulis and M. galloprovincialis: systematic literature review of risk factors and recommendations for future research. Reviews In Aquaculture. 13 (1). 504-536.,

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