Geographical variation in the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus content of blue mussels, Mytilus edulis

Andrew Christian Van Der Schatte Olivier, Lewis Le Vay, Shelagh Malham, Michael Christie, James Wilson, Susan Allender, Sarah Schmidlin, Jordan Brewin, Laurence Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shellfish farming contributes to nutrient removal in coastal and estuarine systems, as bivalves incorporate nutrients into their tissues and shells, which is removed from the marine system on harvest. Fourteen locations around the UK were surveyed to explore geographic variation in carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus content of tissue and shell in blue mussels. Phosphorus in tissue had a significant negative relationship with mean annual seawater temperature for both rope and bottom cultured sites. Per tonne of live mussel, rope culture removed significantly more nitrogen (8.50 ± 0.59 kg) and phosphorus (0.95 ± 0.07 kg) than bottom cultured (5.00 ± 0.013 kg nitrogen and 0.43 ± 0.01 kg phosphorus). Bottom culture, however, provides significantly more C removal in shell (60.15 ± 0.77 kg) than in rope cultured (46.12 ± 1.69 kg). Further studies are required to examine the effect of growth rate, on the nitrogen and phosphorus remediation, and carbon stored in shell, of rope culture and bottom cultured mussel aquaculture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112291
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Early online date15 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Nutrient remediation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Regulating services
  • Shellfish
  • Bivalves
  • Bivalve aquaculture


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