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Larval abundance and settlement success in blue mussel (Mytilus spp.) in Havre de Gaspé and Cascapédia Bay



For several years, mussel producers in the Gaspé Peninsula have been calling for larval monitoring studies in order to determine the optimal timing of mussel spat collector deployment. A number of studies have examined the relationship between larval abundance, settlement intensity and collection success in benthic invertebrate species. However, the findings have been contradictory. In fact, although a number of studies have described a relationship between the abundance of larvae that have reached the pediveliger stage (i.e. final stage of development) and settlement intensity, this relationship has not been observed in other studies. General objective: Acquire basic knowledge about the mechanisms governing larval distribution in order to determine peak periods of abundance and the origin and diversity of juveniles of two species of mussels in the Gaspé Peninsula.

Specific objectives:

  1. Describe the relationship between the spawning period, larval abundance and juvenile abundance.
  2. Compare mussel settlement patterns in Havre de Gaspé and Cascapédia Bay.
  3. Evaluate, in each study area, larval dispersion and drift using a physical-biological coupled model and the duration of the pelagic phase.
  4. Describe the genetic characteristics of the mussel populations in the bays in order to determine the origin of juvenile mussels (i.e. wild mussels, farmed mussels, originating from within or outside the bay).
  5. Improve mussel growers' spat collection strategies by adapting these strategies based on various factors including appearance of mussel cohorts, predators, level of larval drift outside the sites and spat origin.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2006 - 2009


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Jean-Marie Sévigny

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