The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Body mass index does not decline during winter for the sedentary marine gastropod Crepidula fornicata"

Posted on 2023-05-24 - 18:42
Seasonal extremes in environmental conditions can substantially limit the growth and reproduction of animals. Sedentary marine animals are particularly susceptible to winter food limitation since they cannot relocate to more favourable conditions. In several temperate-zone bivalve species, substantial winter tissue mass declines have been documented; however, no comparable studies have been conducted on intertidal gastropods. Here, we investigate whether the suspension-feeding intertidal gastropod Crepidula fornicata also loses substantial tissue mass during the winter. We calculated body mass index (BMI) for individuals collected in New England at different times of year for 7 years to determine whether BMI declines through winter or varies seasonally. Remarkably, C. fornicata body mass did not decline significantly during winter months; indeed, a relatively poorer body condition was associated with higher seawater temperature, higher air temperature and higher chlorophyll concentration. In a laboratory experiment, we found that C. fornicata adults that were not fed for three weeks at 6°C (local winter seawater temperature) showed no detectable declines in BMI compared to field-collected individuals. Future studies should document energy budgets of C. fornicata and other sedentary marine animals at low winter seawater temperatures, and the impact of short-term elevated temperatures on those energy budgets.


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