Byssal Thread Experiments
Mussels attach themselves to substrates using byssal threads. Students in RMB have investigated the effect of various physcial factors in the environment on the holding strength of the byssal threads of mussels. The following is the result of these studies: Examination of Holding Strength of Mytilus edulis Under Varying Salinities on the Exposed Side of Appledore Island, Maine Project Leader - Sal DeCarli - August 2008 Brian Golino and author Sal DeCarli reading from a tensometer Photo: Cecelia Sydor Estable Abstract The force required to pull Mytilus edulis from rocks was studied on Appledore Island, Maine to determine if the mussels are affected by the vast ranges of saline environments they experience throughout daily tidal cycles. Mussels were selected individually and randomly after soaking for one hour in various salinities. Each sample had a hole drilled through its shell. It was then hooked up to a tensometer, and pulled until it detached from its rock substrate. The distance recorded by the tensometer was then converted from a distance in millimeters to a force using Hooke’s Law. A one way ANOVA demonstrated no significant difference in force required to detach the mussels after they were saturated at various saline solutions (0ppt, 34ppt and 68ppt). These data show there is no increase in the force required to remove a mussel from its substrate with increasing salinity; however the data are not conclusive due to small sample sizes in treatments showing a high degree of within treatment variability. Salinity versus force required to dislodge M. edulis from its substrate. The trendline represents the average force required to fully dislodge Mytilus edulis from its substrate at varying salinities (p=.299 r2=0.0714). Figure: Sal DeCarli Major - Environmental Geography Central Connecticut University ‘10 Future Plans - I plan to work for NOAA and get my M.A. in Biological Oceanography.