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Impact of an icy winter on the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas Thunberg, 1793) populations in Scandinavia

Journal article
Authors Åsa Strand
E. Blanda
T. Bodvin
J. K. Davids
L. F. Jensen
T. H. Holm-Hansen
A. Jelmert
Susanne Lindegarth
S. Mortensen
F. E. Moy
P. Nielsen
P. Norling
Carlo Nyberg
H. T. Christensen
B. Vismann
M. W. Holm
B. W. Hansen
P. Dolmer
Published in Aquatic Invasions
Volume 7
Issue 3
Pages 433-440
ISSN 1798-6540
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 433-440
Language en
Keywords Crassostrea gigas, invasive species, winter mortality, Scandinavia, wadden sea, nonnative oysters, rates
Subject categories Environmental Sciences


The Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) is an invasive species that has dispersed into Scandinavia during the last few decades. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of extreme winter conditions on the mortality of the Pacific oyster in Scandinavia. The study was done by compiling mortality data from independent surveys in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Winter mortality of the oysters increased with latitude, which can be explained by the colder climate experienced at higher latitudes. Mortality was also found to be affected by site specific conditions such as water depth at the sampling sites of oyster populations. Despite the severe winter conditions of 2009/2010 causing high mortality, the Pacific oyster still exists in large numbers in Scandinavia. The present investigation indicates that extreme winter conditions may result in a temporary reduction of the density of the Pacific oyster, but that the species can be expected to continue its invasion of Scandinavian coastal areas.

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