Contrasting shell growth strategies in two Mediterranean bivalves revealed by oxygen-isotope ratio geochemistry: The case of Pecten jacobaeus and Glycymeris pilosa

Melita Peharda, Julien Thébault, Krešimir Markulin, Bernd R. Schöne, Ivica Janeković, Laurent Chauvaud

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High-resolution stable-isotope ratio data (δ18O, δ13C) were used to study growth strategies of two bivalve species, Pecten jacobaeus (calcitic shell) and Glycymeris pilosa (aragonitic shell) from the North Adriatic Sea. The principal objectives of this study were to identify the period of the year when the growth line is formed in the shell of two target species, to identify the main growing season of these two species, to identify the environmental drivers of shell growth, and to evaluate the potential applicability of δ18O and δ13C values for the reconstruction of environmental variability. Samples were collected from the North Adriatic Sea by commercial bean trawl (P. jacobaeus, December 2013 and January 2014, N=4) and SCUBA diver (Glycymeris pilosa, March 2016, N=3). Samples for the oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotope composition of the calcium carbonate were collected by drilling the outer shell layer across several annual cycles. Temporal and spatial temperature and salinity values inside the investigated area were simulated using the 3D numerical ocean model - ROMS. The δ18O cycles corresponded to the number of seasonal growth marks observed on the external shell surface of both target species, thereby confirming the annual periodicity of these growth patterns. In February 2012, extreme cooling of the water column accompanied by dense water formation occurred in the Adriatic Sea - an event recorded by P. jacobaeus shells. This study indicates that P. jacobaeus and G. pilosa have contrasting shell growth strategies. Pecten jacobaeus grows during winter and slows shell growth during the warmest part of the year, and thereby may be an interesting archive for winter conditions. Due to its longevity and continuous growth during the warmest part of the year, G. pilosa is a promising archive for the reconstruction of summer seawater temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-35
JournalChemical Geology
Early online date22 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019


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