Suspended paticulate matter and respiration experiments of Laternula elliptica in Potter Cove, King George Island, Western Antarctic Peninsula


Recent rapid changes of air temperature on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula results in increased sediment discharge and ice scouring frequencies in coastal regions. These changes are bound to especially affect slow growing, sessile filter feeders such as the Antarctic bivalve, Laternula elliptica, a long-lived and abundant key species with circumpolar distribution. We investigated the effect of sedimentation and ice scouring on small/young and large/old individuals at two closely located stations, distinctly influenced by both types of disturbance. Small individuals dealt better with disturbance in terms of their respiratory response to sediment exposure, reburrowing ability, and survival after injury, compared to larger animals. At the more disturbed station L. elliptica population density was lower, but larger animals reburrowed faster after iceberg disturbance and reduced their metabolic rate under strong sediment coverage, compared to larger animals of the less disturbed station, indicating that an adaptation or learning response to both types of disturbance may be possible. Smaller individuals were not influenced. Laternula elliptica seems capable of coping with the rapidly changing environmental conditions. Due to a decrease in population density and mean population lifespan, L. elliptica could however lose its key role in the bentho-pelagic carbon flux in areas of high sediment deposition.

Data extracted in the frame of a joint ICSTI/PANGAEA IPY effort, see

Supplement to: Philipp, Eva E R; Husmann, Gunnar; Abele, Doris (2011): The impact of sediment deposition and iceberg scour on the Antarctic soft shell clam Laternula elliptica at King George Island, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 23(2), 127-138

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Philipp, Eva E R; Husmann, Gunnar; Abele, Doris ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2011
Funding Reference German Research Foundation Crossref Funder ID 5472008 Priority Programme 1158 Antarctic Research with Comparable Investigations in Arctic Sea Ice Areas
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 4 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-58.666W, -62.236S, -58.657E, -62.225N); Potter Cove, King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula
Temporal Coverage Begin 2006-12-27T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2007-03-09T12:00:00Z