Journal Article

Validated age, growth, and mortality estimates of the ocean quahog (<i>Arctica islandica</i>) in the western Atlantic

Raouf W. Kilada, Steven E. Campana and Dale Roddick

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 1, pages 31-38
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsl001
Validated age, growth, and mortality estimates of the ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) in the western Atlantic

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Kilada, R. W., Campana S. E., and Roddick, D. 2007. Validated age, growth, and mortality estimates of the ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) in the western Atlantic. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 31–38.

The age structure of offshore (Sable Bank) and inshore (St Mary's Bay) populations of eastern Canadian ocean quahogs (Arctica islandica), and of a northwestern Iceland population, is investigated. Age estimates for eastern Canadian ocean quahogs were validated through analysis of bomb-produced 14C in quahog shell growth increments deposited before, during, and after the atmospheric atomic bomb testing periods of the 1950s and 1960s. Delta 14C from shells with presumed birthdates between the late 1950s and 1970s clearly reflects the sharp increase in oceanic radiocarbon attributable to nuclear testing. The results validate our age interpretations of Sable Bank quahogs to an age of 45 y, and support longevity estimates of more than 200 y for the same population. Longevity calculations for the other populations exceeded 60 y. Von Bertalanffy growth parameters were estimated for the three populations; the growth rate of all three was relatively rapid for the first 20–30 y of life, but thereafter was very slow. The instantaneous rate of natural mortality (M), calculated using the age–frequency distribution of the unexploited populations, was estimated to be 0.03 and 0.10 for the Sable Bank and St Mary's Bay populations, respectively.

Keywords: age determination; Arctica islandica; bomb radiocarbon; ocean quahog validation

Journal Article.  5203 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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