Marine mussels, their evolutionary success, ecological significance and use as chronometers of environmental change
Published:January 01, 2000
R. Seed, C. A. Richardson, K. Smith, 2000. "Marine mussels, their evolutionary success, ecological significance and use as chronometers of environmental change", The Evolutionary Biology of the Bivalvia, E. M. Harper, J. D. Taylor, J. A. Crame
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The evolution of the heteromyarian form and neotenous retention of the byssus into the adult stage were central to the colonization of hard substrata and the subsequent evolutionary success of epibyssate mytilids. In addition, these mussels are supreme filter feeders and exhibit many structural, behavioural and life-history traits which make them particularly successful colonizing species. As competitively dominant species, mussels can potentially monopolize epibenthic communities with a consequent reduction in diversity of the primary space-occupying species. However, mussel patches themselves are extremely diverse, offering numerous resources which are exploited by a range of associated organisms from most animal phyla. Mussel beds can influence large-scale coastal and estuarine processes such as productivity and eutrophication, and can significantly alter sediment biogeochemistry. Annual growth lines and tidal bands in mussel shells have been used to estimate age, and to investigate the effects of environmental factors such as seawater and air temperature, spring–neap lunar tidal cycles and exposure to chlorination regimes in power station culverts. Analysis of the elemental composition of the incremental record in long-lived mytilids has been used to assess the effects of anthropogenic inputs into coastal waters.
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The Evolutionary Biology of the Bivalvia
Bivalves are key components of Recent marine and freshwater ecosystems and have been so for most of the Phanerozoic. Their rich and long fossil record, combined with their abundance and diversity in modern seas, has made bivalves the ideal subject of palaeobiological and evolutionary studies. Despite this, however, topics such as the early evolution of the class, relationships between various taxa and the life habits of some key extinct forms have remained remarkably unclear.
In the last few years there has been enormous expansion in the range of techniques available to both palaeontologists and zoologists and key discoveries of new faunas which shed new light on the evolutionary biology of this important class.
This volume integrates palaeontological and zoological approaches and sheds new light on the course of bivalve evolution. This series of 32 original papers tackles key issues including: up to date molecular phylogenies of major groups; new hard and soft tissue morphological cladistic analyses; reassessments of the early Palaeozoic radiation; important new observations on form and functional morphology; analyses of biogeography and biodiversity; novel (palaeo)ecological studies