Bioenergetic Effects of Cutting Mussel Byssus Threads, Mytilus trossulus
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Mussels are filter feeders living and thriving in the harsh conditions of the intertidal environment. Many factors attribute to their success including aggregating in groups, hard shells, but more specifically their ability to strongly attach themselves to substrate with byssal threads. Byssus is a proteinaceous fiber excreted by the byssal foot of a mussel for attachment. It is important to understand the energy distribution Mytilus trossulus, by investigating the energetic cost of byssus production. In this study we manipulate M. trossulus into producing different amounts of byssus among three treatments over a thirty-day experiment. Three byssal removal regiments: those cut daily, those cut weekly, and those never cut, were measured and analyzed for comparisons in metric growth. The mussels with byssal threads being cut daily showed the lowest percent increases in shell length, height, width, and weight among the three treatment groups.