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Impact of mussel culture on infauna and sediment biogeochemistry



Interactions between bivalve aquaculture and the environment are complex. In suspended mussel culture, great quantities of waste (digested and undigested planktonic food, or biodeposits) may fall from culture structures and this may impact benthic communities, particularly those living in bottom sediments. Different biogeochemical methods have been developed as proxies to monitor the health of benthic communities. While some work has examined dose (biodeposition) – response (benthic conditions) relationships, these studies often suffer from procedural issues or have been done over limited levels of biodeposition and mechanisms have not been evaluated, making the determination of benthic ecological carrying capacity difficult. This study evaluates the dose-response relationship between mussel biodeposition and benthic conditions over a wide range of deposition levels and over more than one year. Measurements will be taken to determine the processes by which bottom sediments and communities are impacted with the aim of determining the ecological carrying capacity of the benthic environment of Malpeque Bay, PEI, for mussel aquaculture. Combining the results of this study with ongoing organic loading models for bivalve aquaculture will inform managers on how many mussels may be farmed in an area while protecting the benthic environment.






Innovative aquaculture tools

Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2016 - 2019

Principal Investigator

Chris McKindsey
Research Scientist, Maurice Lamontagne Institute

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