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Effect of lowered salinity on the survival, condition and reburial of Soletellina alba (Lamarck, 1818) (Bivalvia: Psammobiidae)
journal contributionposted on 2004-06-01, 00:00 authored by Ty MatthewsTy Matthews, Peter Fairweather
Mass mortalities of fauna are known to occur in estuarine environments during flood events. Specific factors associated with these mortalities have rarely been examined. Therefore, the effect of exposing, to lowered salinities, an infaunal bivalve that is susceptible to mass mortalities during winter flooding in a southern Australian estuary was tested in the present study. In a laboratory experiment, low salinities (≤6 parts per thousand [ppt]), which mimicked those expected during flood events in the Hopkins River estuary, were shown to affect Soletellina alba, both lethally and sublethally. All bivalves died at 1 ppt, while those at 6 ppt took longer to burrow and exhibited a poorer condition than those at 14 and 27 ppt. The limited salinity tolerance of S. alba suggests that lowered salinities are a likely cause of mass mortality for this species during winter flooding.