Mussel seed Mytilus galloprovincialis (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from two origins (rocky shore and collector ropes) was cultivated on a raft in the Ría de Arousa (north-west Spain), from seeding to thinning out, for 226 d (November 1995–July 1996) and two aspects of metabolism, oxygen consumption rate (VO2) and ammonia excretion rate (VNH4-N) were studied in situ.
The model derived from multiple analysis of oxygen consumption accounted for 91.9% of the variance, based on dry weight of the mussels and the environmental factors quality of food (organic content) and mainly chlorophyll-a. Seed origin also showed significant influence. The seasonal pattern of the oxygen consumption can be attributed mainly to the variation of chlorophyll-a, which showed a higher range of values in the spring months.
Origin of seed did not show a homogeneous effect on oxygen consumption throughout the cultivation period. Collector rope mussels showed higher oxygen consumption values at the beginning of the cultivation period and after the first 15 d, but the rocky shore mussels showed a higher oxygen consumption between days 22 and 110. Energy-conserving patterns and lower condition index at the onset of the experiment for rocky shore mussels could explain these initial differences.
Multiple analysis on the variation of ammonia excretion rate provided a model that accounted for 72.6% of the variance based on dry weight of mussels, seed origin and the environmental parameters chlorophyll-a and total particulate matter. The rocky shore mussels showed a significantly higher excretion values for most of the cultivation period, although there was no constant tendency throughout. High excretion values were recorded between January and March, whilst for the rest of the cultivation period values were low.
The O:N index was higher in collector rope mussels for most of the cultivation period, which may suggest a more favourable energy metabolism and/or a more appropriate nutritional state for these specimens.