Aspects of the physiology and ecology of Corophium volutator (pallas) in relation to salinity
The effects of salinity on the physiology and ecology of the mud-dwelling estuarine animal Corophium volutator (Pallas), a crustacean amphipod, have been investigated.
A study of the effects ot salinity on the distribution and abundance of C. volutator on the estuary of the River Ythan, Aberdeenshire, indicates that 2â€° is a critical minimum salinity controlling its distribution. In areas with salinities between 2 and 5â€° C. volutator was present, but in reduced numbers. In areas with salinity greater than 5â€° , the distribution and abundance of C. volutator were controlled by the nature of the substrate; however, in areas with suitable substrates, but where the salinity was below 5â€° , the effects of salinity override the effects of the substrate.
Experimental studies indicated that, if supplied with mud, it will survive the salinity range of 2 – 50â€°, and without mud, the range 7.5 – 47.5â€°. Moulting occurred in salinities of 2.6 – 46â€° , but most frequently in tho range 5 – 20â€° . Growth occurred at a maximum rate in 15.4 o/oo and only slightly slower at 4.4 and
30.6â€° ; but below 4.4â€° the growth rate was progressively reduced. The effects of salinity on the various stages in the life cycle are discussed.
Freezing point studies show C. volutator to be a hyperosmotic regulator, having a tissue tolerance range of 13 – 50â€° . The effect of size, sex, feeding and moulting on the freezing point have been investigated. C. volutator was found to produce urine hypoosmotic to the blood when acclimated to low salinities, and isosmotic urine at salinities above 20â€° . Over a range of salinities from 1 – 35â€° , C. volutator was found to maintain Na+, K+,Ca ++,Cl-, more concentrated than the medium, and Mg++ less concentrated.
The restricted permeable areas of the cuticle have been localised by silver staining. The oxygen consumption of animals of the same size, at the same level of activity, and at the same temperature, did not differ significantly between animals in different salinities. A salinity preference range of 10 – 30â€° has been demonstrated.
Relevant literature on estuarine life, and osmoregulation of crustacea is reviewed. The adaptations of C. volutator to an environment with varying salinity are discussed.