Bivalves: From individual to population modelling

S. Saraiva, J. van der Meer, S.A.L.M. Kooijman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An individual based population model for bivalves was designed, built and tested in a 0D approach, to simulate the population dynamics of a mussel bed located in an intertidal area. The processes at the individual level were simulated following the dynamic energy budget theory, whereas initial egg mortality, background mortality, food competition, and predation (including cannibalism) were additional population processes. Model properties were studied through the analysis of theoretical scenarios and by simulation of different mortality parameter combinations in a realistic setup, imposing environmental measurements. Realistic criteria were applied to narrow down the possible combination of parameter values. Field observations obtained in the long-term and multi-station monitoring program were compared with the model scenarios. The realistically selected modeling scenarios were able to reproduce reasonably the timing of some peaks in the individual abundances in the mussel bed and its size distribution but the number of individuals was not well predicted. The results suggest that the mortality in the early life stages (egg and larvae) plays an important role in population dynamics, either by initial egg mortality, larvae dispersion, settlement failure or shrimp predation. Future steps include the coupling of the population model with a hydrodynamic and biogeochemical model to improve the simulation of egg/larvae dispersion, settlement probability, food transport and also to simulate the feedback of the organisms' activity on the water column properties, which will result in an improvement of the food quantity and quality characterization. © 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-83
JournalJournal of sea research
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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